UDP wins in Sohiong; no threat to MDA 2.0

(Left) UDP’s Synshar Kupar Roy Lyngdoh Thabah; UDP supporters revel in celebrations, in the city on Saturday. (ST)

SHILLONG, May 13: Riding on sympathy wave, UDP registered a comprehensive win in the adjourned election to Sohiong constituency edging out the heavyweight NPP by a margin of over 3,000 votes.
The facile victory, which has little bearing on state politics except for giving UDP the bragging right after a fierce and often fiery election campaign.
The winner Synshar Kupar Roy Lyngdoh Thabah, nephew of former minister (L) HDR Lyngdoh, defeated NPP’s outgoing MLA Samlin Malingiang.
With Synshar, the UDP now boasts of 12 legislators in the House of 60 — which is double of its tally over last election in 2018.
UDP president Metbah Lyngdoh has put at rest speculation over UDP’s hidden agenda to destabilise MDA 2.0. He has categorically ruled out any such possibility.
With its victory in Sohiong, the UDP has now established its claim as a regional force to be reckoned with, erasing any whiff of a doubt from the minds of its political rivals about its position in the state’s political spectrum. The party has also convincingly established itself as the supreme regional force in the Khasi-Jaintia Hills region.
Synshar polled 16,679 votes, while NPP’s Samlin Malngiang secured 13,257 votes. Congress candidate S Osborne Kharjana secured 1,762, while NOTA polled more votes than the candidates of BJP, TMC and HSPDP — the three parties failed to collect even 100 votes. The result clearly indicates that the contest was only between the UDP and the NPP.

Winner to follow in uncle’s footsteps
Man of the moment, Synshar Kupar Roy Lyngdoh Thabah said that the party’s win marked the start of a new era in Sohiong constituency.
“It has been a drought for the last five years. I think from today onwards, starts a new era in Sohiong constituency,” said Synshar.
Stating that he means business, the UDP MLA said, “I just don’t want to be a legislator, I want to be a lawmaker who will speak in the Assembly on subjects like ILP, roster system, Uniform Civil Code, subjects that we took up during our campaign”.
Synshar was quick to add that his endeavours will be the continuation of his late uncle HDR Lyngdoh’s work and admitted that sympathy votes did play a role in his win.

UDP to bolster coalition
Joyous after the emphatic win, UDP president clearly stated that the party remains firm on its commitment to support the NPP-led MDA 2.0 Government.
Speaking to reporters after visiting the residence of the newly elected MLA in Sohiong, Lyngdoh said the victory will help in strengthening both the party and the coalition government in the state
Lyngdoh, however, said that he failed to understand the debate on the possibility of a change in the political equation in the state after the deferred election to Sohiong
He was categorical that the UDP has no intention to disturb the present political scenario in Meghalaya.
“I want to make it very clear that the party remained committed to the MDA Government for the full term. Even this time around, we will remain committed to the MDA 2.0 Government for the sake of stability and for the overall development of the state,” the UDP chief said.
On the other hand, Metbah attributed the UDP’s win in Sohiong to two factors — sympathy and the recognition of the contributions of former MLA, (late) HDR Lyngdoh.
Party general secretary Jemino Mawthoh said that the win in Sohiong is an indication that the UDP is still a formidable force. “People in Sohiong constituency and may be the entire Khasi and Jaintia Hills are inclined towards the party,” Mawthoh said.
“It is a big win for the party as our numbers have also increased and I think we will make bigger contribution in the MDA government. It is a big boost,” he added, while expressing gratitude to the party’s workers and supporters.
Asked if the party will push for an increase in the number of Cabinet berth, Mawthoh said, “…that will be discussed at the parliamentary party level. It is not about the cabinet berth but about strengthening the party and contributing to strengthening the MDA, it is not about the position and all”.
It may be mentioned that during MDA’s first term, the UDP had two cabinet ministers, now it has one.
UDP vice president Allantry F Dkhar, on the other hand, spoke about the hard work put in by party leaders and functionaries to achieve the result.
“It is a victory of the party and its spirit of regionalism that prevailed in the minds of the electorate and we are very happy about it,” Dkhar said.
Earlier in the day, the counting of votes began at 8 am and the result was declared by 11.30 am.
As UDP took the lead during the counting of votes, huge number of UDP supporters flocked in front of the State Central Library here to celebrate the victory.
During the electioneering ahead of the election, both the UDP and the NPP kept training guns on each other despite being partners in the MDA Government. But with the mandate out, it seems that the squabbles and finger-pointing were a result of the adrenaline of election.