Ahead of polls, politics of desertion begins in state

Benedic R Marak, Ferlin CA Sangma and Himalaya Shangpliang resign from Assembly, to join BJP

SHILLONG, Nov 28: In a major political development ahead of Assembly elections in the state, MLAs Benedic R Marak, Ferlin CA Sangma (both from National People’s Party) and Himalaya M Shangpliang (Trinamool Congress) resigned from the Assembly on Monday.
They tendered their resignation letters to Speaker Metbah Lyngdoh. All three will join the BJP in December.
The development will surely excite the BJP, which is trying to establish itself as a force to be reckoned with in the Christian-majority state.
The resignation of the trio, however, has not come as a surprise. The Shillong Times had reported on November 11 that they would change their political jersey by December.
BJP state president Ernest Mawrie had then stated three MLAs would join the party. Although he had not disclosed any name, a party source confirmed to The Shillong Times that Shangpliang, Benedic and Ferlin were set to join the BJP.
In another development on Monday, Independent MLA from Baghmara Samuel Sangma, who is an associate member of the United Democratic Party, submitted a letter to the Assembly Speaker to disassociate himself from the party. He was accompanied by BJP MLA and party’s national executive member AL Hek, who said the former would not join the BJP immediately.
Samuel himself confirmed that he would contest the Assembly poll on a BJP ticket.
Ahead of 2018 Assembly polls, four MLAs – Hek, Sanbor Shullai, Justine Dkhar and Robinus Syngkon – had joined the BJP.
Earlier, Shangpliang, who represented the Mawsynram seat, told reporters the Speaker accepted their resignation. He said the three of them are planning to join the BJP shortly.
“We would be joining the party with one mind – development of the state. There are lots of things that need to be done considering that the state is going through a lot of problems, especially on the finance and law and order fronts,” he said.
He also said that they would like the people of the state to accept the BJP in order to bring a change in the entire state.
“The BJP is the party for development and we have nothing but development. We need development for the state and therefore, we are all joining (the party) together,” he said.
When he was reminded that some MLAs who joined the BJP ahead of the last elections had lost, Shangpliang said things have changed now.
“You can verify it from the people at the grassroots level since they all know what development means. I think this is the voice of the people. People voiced their concerns that they do not get anything under the present government and they want to change,” he asserted.
Shangpliang, who had joined the TMC in November last year, said he had huge expectations that the party could bring change but he saw things that were not favourable to people in the rural areas.
“Therefore, we are here to bring development to the rural masses, down to the downtrodden one. We would like to see that each and every household in the state is benefited with the schemes initiated by the Centre,” Shangpliang said.
Ferlin Sangma said there is nothing wrong with the NPP “but we are looking at the party with a bigger role and the BJP is a party which is people-centric and farmers-centric.”
She felt the people in Garo Hills now hold a different view of the BJP compared to four-five years ago.
“People are now experienced after seeing the work of the BJP government at the Centre,” she said.
Referring to the lack of development in Selsella, she lamented that the state government had not built even a single community college in the constituency although she was a ruling party MLA. She said this is one of the factors which prompted her to look at a bigger party.
Benedic said the people of his Raksamgre constituency want the BJP. He said his decision to join the BJP was also the decision of his supporters and party workers.

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