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Congress doors open for all, including Mukul: Ronnie

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CLP leader contradicts Tura MP’s claim of not allowing former CM to rejoin party

SHILLONG, June 30: Leader of the Opposition, Ronnie V Lyngdoh on Sunday said the Congress will accommodate anyone, including Trinamool Congress leader and former Chief Minister Mukul Sangma, if he is willing to work in the interest of the party.
“Let’s not go into specifics or individuals. It is not a question of one, two or three persons. The doors of the Congress are open to everyone if they are willing to work in the interest of the party and within its ideology,” Lyngdoh, who is also the Congress Parliamentary Party leader, told reporters.
He was reacting to a query if the Congress will allow Mukul and his team to return to the party. The Congress’ newly-elected Tura MP, Saleng A Sangma had recently stated that he would not allow Mukul and his team to rejoin the Congress.
Asked about it, Lyngdoh said, “That you will have to ask the MP because as a party, we are yet to have a discussion on this but as we said, the Congress will welcome everyone and anyone. We are not talking about any particular individual.”
To another query, he said the Congress will discuss the issue of the return of Mukul and his team at the right time and right place.
“People still have their trust in the party. Because of various reasons, people left but after our good results all over India, they are now turning back to the party although they have not contacted us formally,” Lyngdoh said.
“Forget the leaders, people also want to see the Congress back in power because of its performance, inclusivity etc,” he claimed.
On reports about former Congress MLAs keeping in touch with party leaders, the leader of the Opposition said, “We have been in touch with them even after they left the party. But this does not mean anything. Don’t read too much into it.”
Talking about the Congress’ defeat in the Shillong Lok Sabha seat, Lyngdoh said, “Not just Congress, all political parties suffered a setback here as people wanted to try out something new and they have given them a chance.”
“The people of the state and the country have rejected communal politics as well as politics of divisiveness and hate,” he said.
He viewed the performance of the Congress and other opposition parties in the Lok Sabha elections as the victory of the Constitution of India and democracy.
‘Congress should have LO post’
Lyngdoh made it clear that no opposition party can lay claim on the post of Leader of Opposition (LO).
He was reacting to reports that the TMC is claiming the post of Leader of Opposition (LO) and the VPP was backing the demand.
“It is not that we have lost the Gambegre seat. It had to be vacated because the sitting MLA was elected as the MP. There will be a bye-election soon and if we retain that seat we will be back to five MLAs,” Lyngdoh said.
He said the Congress had five MLAs, while the TMC has five and the VPP four. “So the Speaker, in his wisdom, gave us the LO post since we are a national party,” he stated.
He asked the Speaker to delay the matter until the bypoll is held.
Earlier, Speaker Thomas A Sangma had said he was examining if there was a need to appoint an MLA from the Trinamool Congress as the new LO.

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