Friday, December 8, 2023

Deck clear for Conrad to take over as chief minister


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SHILLONG, March 4: Conrad Sangma is all set to begin his second essay as chief minister on the backdrop of an uncomfortable slender majority and spectre of political agitation on the streets.
The deck is clear for him to take oath along with his full cabinet on March 7 in the presence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
But he will be wary of the opposite camp which is breathing down his neck. The UDP-led conglomerate does not seem to be in any mood to give up so soon since it believes to be hovering in the striking distance.
While NPP-BJP has 32 MLAs, (unless the two HSPDP MLAs pull out), their strength will effectively get reduced by one when the Speaker is elected. This will leave them constantly in tenterhooks. Obviously, effort is on to poach on the opposition camp. Conrad claimed that some opposition MLAs were “in touch” with him.
The mood in the camp comprising Congress, UDP, VPP, TMC, INC and PDF appeared to be unhurried optimism. Given the rising public pressure, the top leaders are confident of keeping the flock intact and wait for trial of strength on the floor of Assembly.
TMC State president, Charles Pyngrope discounted Conrad Sangma’s claim about having majority, as there is still some confusion in the HSPDP camp.
Recalling that the party president has already submitted a letter of withdrawal of support to NPP, he said that their numbers don’t add up in the absence of HSPDP members.
Pyngrope who is former speaker, also said that as per his understanding, the party has withdrawn the support and the support by the HSPDP MLAs to any other alliance may even attract anti-defection law.
Asserting that the regional parties are intact, he added that the support of the independent MLAs to the NPP also needs to be shown.
Meanwhile, PDF President, Banteidor Lyngdoh while confirming that the party has been approached to join the NPP alliance added that discussions have taken place, but they have not finalised anything on the matter.
It may be mentioned that Conrad Sangma had earlier stated that their support may increase further as discussions are on with more parties.
UDP senior leader, Paul Lyngdoh also said that discussions in their camp are still inconclusive as they are taking inputs and the process is on.
When asked will it not be late as Conrad Sangma is taking oath on Tuesday, he said that it will not be late and even a day is a long time in politics.
Clearly, the battle lines are drawn and the coming days will sure to witness high voltage political drama.
Earlier, the NPP senior leader Prestone Tynsong asserted that NPP has emerged as the single largest party which should be respected.
“Why don’t you respect the decision taken by the elected representatives of the party. We already elected Conrad Sangma to again be the CM for the next five years. It seems these people (opposition) got mad on that,” he said.
He further said there are 36 seats in Khasi-Jaintia region and if they so desire why not put up candidates and win around 32-33 and form the government of their own.
“But now you can’t do like this. How can you just force two from one party two from other and forcibly want to form the government. That is totally wrong,” he added.
On the demand for a Khasi chief minister, he said, “It seems that was their (hidden) agenda. They want CM from Khasi or Jaintia but that is not the only criteria to decide on who will be the chief minister.” “Besides, there is a fractured mandate even in this part of the state,” he argued.
Asked if he was aware about the whereabouts of the two HSPDP MLAs, Tynsong said, “I don’t know I am not sleeping with them.”
He said that they are not being held captive by the NPP.
Speaking further, he said that it is a convention for MLAs to join other political parties, not only in Meghalaya but different parts of the country.
When asked if the two HSPDP MLAs will merge with the NPP, Tynsong said refused to give a direct reply. “But even constitutionally it is allowed for merging even if their party says you cannot join if both of them are willing the constitution will allow”.
The senior NPP leader condemned the attack on the premises of HSPDP MLAs Methodius Dkhar. He said, “…we have seen few groups of people, unknown miscreants, trying to create law and order (problems) in Shillong city and especially in relatives house of those elected representatives from Mawthadraishan and Mawshynrut. It is unfortunate. It seems these people are trying to snatch away the constitutional rights of the elected representatives”.
He asserted that such criminal activities will not be allowed .
Training his guns on the pressure groups, Tynsong said that some of them including HITO and HYC are allegedly political wings of political parties, while claiming that the public are aware.
“When they go to any places within Khasi-Jaintia Hills, they talk openly to vote for this party or the other. NGOs are not supposed to be involved in political process directly. Indirectly you have every right to vote and do whatever you want,” he said.
He further added, “We have already instructed the police to ensure that law and order is maintained at any cost, especially before the swearing-in ceremony”.
He appealed to citizens to not listen to “misleading activities” of few groups who are allegedly attempting to disturb the peace and tranquillity.

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