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Congress divided on opening doors to former leaders, says AICC will decide

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By Our Reporter

SHILLONG, July 6: Meghalaya Pradesh Congress Committee president Vincent H Pala said the Congress never says no to anyone who intends to join the party but a final decision has to be taken by the central leadership.
Pala’s statement assumes significance in the light of Tura MP Saleng Sangma’s position on the issue.
Recently, Congress Legislature Party leader Ronnie V Lyngdoh had stated that 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.
Saleng, however, holds a different viewpoint. He said he stands opposed to Mukul’s return to the Congress.
Stating that 80 per cent of the cabinet ministers in the state are former Congress leaders, Pala said anyone can join the party but in certain cases, it has to be decided by the All India Congress Committee.
He said the case of Mukul and his family members will be decided under this system in the party.
Pala said the Congress is for everyone and not for any individual even as he stressed that the political leaders need to work together, stating that Congress, NPP and VPP leaders had a dinner together in New Delhi.
“We are here to work together,” he said.
Pala said the dynamics of politics in Meghalaya changed after Saleng had won the Tura seat. He said those who laughed at the Congress are now begging to make a re-entry into the party.
He recalled that there were talks if the Congress could ever revive itself and several leaders ditched the party and joined other parties.
“But with Saleng Sangma’s success, dynamics of politics has changed in Meghalaya,” he said, adding that he and Saleng used to persuade people to join the Congress.
“They laughed at us but today, same people are begging to come back to us,” Pala said.
Taking full responsibility for his defeat in the Lok Sabha elections, he said failure is a stepping stone towards success.
Stating that he lost the elections because many of his leaders and district presidents were “purchased” with promises of different posts, Pala said he was targeted by the BJP and its friends.
“Now it is high time for Saleng Sangma to give it back to them,” Pala said.
On district council elections, he directed all district and block committees of the party to look for candidates. He said the bypoll to the Gambegre seat will be a challenging task since the NPP and TMC will also look to win.
According to Pala, the Congress has invited applications and entrusted Saleng to make the party win in the seat. He said Saleng will have a say in the finalisation of the candidate.

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