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Wave of populist politics will not last long: Paul on VPP’s win

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SHILLONG, June 5: Senior UDP leader Paul Lyngdoh on Wednesday termed the party’s dismal performance in the Lok Sabha election as a temporary setback.
Asserting that every election throws its own surprises, Lyngdoh added that the emergence of the VPP as a significant player in Meghalaya’s politics is now a confirmed reality.
He, however, made it clear that that the wave of “populist politics” will not last long.
UDP candidate Robertjune Kharjahrin, who contested as the candidate of the Regional Democratic Alliance (UDP and HSPDP) was relegated to the fourth position, securing only 44,563 votes.
“There were a lot of factors which led to our downfall but the most important was that we were racing against time and our candidate could only start moving after January. Our campaign was, therefore, limited to certain areas, especially the market areas and we could not penetrate deeper than that,” Lyngdoh told media persons, while explaining the factors that led to the poll debacle.
Stating that nothing is permanent and they are confident the UDP will bounce back, Lyngdoh said the party leadership will meet shortly to take stock of the situation and do some introspection.
Referring to the slide of the BJP vis-à-vis the number of seats won, Lyngdoh, who is also the MDA spokesperson, said Prime Minister Narendra Modi who spoke of 400-plus seats is now trying to establish strong links with other allies since BJP does not have the mandate on its own.
“These are common in politics. The fact that we have hit rock bottom means that there is no way for us to go lower than this and the only option is to bounce back,” he said. Asked to comment on the VPP’s plans to replace all regional parties in the state, Lyngdoh said, “This is a common statement they will make with the mandate they have got but the fact of the matter is that in the Assembly, UDP itself has 12 MLAs of its own while HSPDP has two. The two parties constitute a sizeable block in the Assembly. Besides, we have a strong presence in both KHADC and JHADC.”
On the VPP’s statement asking the MDA Government to step down, the UDP leader said there are three elections in Meghalaya in the course of every five years.
“So are you saying that any government should be replaced after every single election? Then what kind of government will we have? We have been elected for a specific time frame, which is five years,” he said.
Asked if allegations of corruption have hurt the MDA, Lyngdoh said it is easy for someone not in a position of power to pin the blame on the government.
“The fact that they with such a huge margin means that their elected representatives should now be able to steer forward the agenda of Meghalaya in the Parliament,” he said.
He recalled that prior to the formation of the MDA 2.0 Government, attempts were made to form a government with regional parties but the formula did not work out and there was no alternative left for the regional parties other than forming the government with the NPP.

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