TMC eyes UDP support for post-poll alliance

SHILLONG, Feb 3: Despite Trinamool Congress’s tall projection of itself as the only alternative to the NPP-led MDA Government in Meghalaya, the party is in reality bracing for a hung assembly.
Obviously, TMC is eyeing for “like-minded” regional parties like UDP, HSPDP, PDF and what have you.
Party’s state president Charles Pyngrope on Friday made no bones of the fact that it’s not likely for TMC or any other party to win an absolute majority in the upcoming polls.
He, however, told The Shillong Times that while TMC is trying its best to ensure that the party gets an absolute majority, it is an uphill task for any party to win absolute majority going by the trend in the past many elections.
Pyngrope pointed out that since 1978, no party secured a single majority and added the Congress retained power in Meghalaya in 2013 after emerging as the single largest party, bagging 29 seats. The party still fell two short of a majority.
“In the 2008 Assembly election, the Congress had bagged 25 seats,” he recalled.
“TMC is hopeful of a good show. We will be trying hard to cross the figure of 31 seats,” Pyngrope said.
Meanwhile, he said that the support of the TMC is growing across all the constituencies in the state where the party has fielded able candidates. Despite all these, Pyngrope sounded not so optimistic about his party’s prospects.
Asked if TMC has any choice of coalition partners, he said his party wants to forge an alliance with like-minded parties, which share their vision and ideology. “I can say we are comfortable with the UDP, HSPDP and PDF. We are open to align with any party provided they meet certain criteria which our party has envisioned,” he said.
When asked if any formal talks for post-poll alliance with the UDP and other parties are on, he said that he cannot disclose the details.
According to him, the party sees the UDP as a one of the parties which will help them to form the government.
“But we are very clear we are not going to align with BJP and NPP. In 2018, BJP took advantage of the misunderstanding of the differences between political parties by making a backdoor entry to form the government,” he said.
When asked about the claim by the BJP that no government can be formed without them after the polls, he said that any party can make tall claims to form the government.
“It is up to any political party to align with the BJP. The NPP was nowhere and it should have been a UDP and Congress coalition after the 2018 polls. There was some technicality which did not suit,” he said.
Pyngrope brushed aside the outsider tag being used against TMC by rival parties. “The man on the ground is not bothered about this. In Khasi-Jaintia Hills, the voters are looking at the candidate and not at the political party,” he asserted.
Defending the TMC’s poll manifesto in which several sops were assured, the TMC president said these schemes can be implemented and would cost just 3 per cent of the state GDP.
He said there is a mechanism through which funds can be generated to implement these schemes.

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