| Ardent Basaiawmoit’s supporters with HSPDP leaders at Lad Nongkrem on Monday.
Telegraph picture |
Shillong, Dec. 10: The United Democratic Party (UDP) today announced its decision not to field suspended legislator Ardent Miller Basaiawmoit in the 2013 Assembly polls from Nongkrem constituency, thereby bringing the curtains down on a foregone conclusion.
In his place, the UDP state election committee has decided to field former legislator Draishon Kharshiing who has apparently been denied a Congress ticket from the same constituency.
Basaiawmoit was suspended by the UDP parliamentary board for his alleged refusal to comply with party directives, including his disagreement to the party’s allocation of tickets to non-indigenous candidates. But while the committee deliberated on Basaiawmoit at the official residence of UDP president Donkupar Roy, the Nongkrem legislator’s supporters allied themselves with Meghalaya’s oldest regional political outfit — the Hill State People’s Democratic Party (HSPDP).Making the announcement, Roy said, “He (Basaiawmoit) has not shown any interest to contest from the party despite getting chances to make his intentions clear.”
However, the leadership refrained from “expelling” the “non-conformist” legislator who is yet to reply to the show cause notice after he was suspended on November 21.
“This case is not serious at all. In fact, it is no longer an issue for the party,” Roy said.
But in Nongkrem, Basaiawmoit’s supporters are upbeat following their “merger” with the HSPDP.
Today at Lad Nongkrem, HSPDP leaders welcomed thousands of Basaiawmoit’s supporters into their fold — signalling that the legislator would contest the polls under the leadership of veteran politician Hoping Stone Lyngdoh.
Later, HSPDP general secretary Enbin K. Raswai welcomed the new supporters and hinted that the party’s doors were open for Basaiawmoit.
The UDP also announced that they would field Wonderful Lapang from Jirang constituency, Edward Kharwanlang from South Shillong, Arun N. Marak from Songsak and Raju G. Momin from Rongjeng.
With these announcements, the UDP has so far decided to field 44 candidates in the 60 Assembly constituencies. The party’s state election committee will meet again on January 7 to decide on the remaining seats. At the same time, Roy said the UDP would not enter into a pre-poll alliance with any political party. “The party feels that it should go on its own in the elections as it has already decided on the names of 44 candidates,” the former chief minister said. The UDP also expressed its reservations against the use of electronic voting machines for the 2013 polls and instead favoured the traditional ballot paper system.
“We have written to the state chief electoral officer and also to the Election Commission expressing our reservations on the old EVMs. But we have not received any reply so far,” Roy said.