| J.D. Rymbai |
Shillong, Jan. 21: Former Meghalaya chief minister and United Democratic Party (UDP) parliamentary party leader J.D. Rymbai has quit from the primary membership of the regional party. He has vowed to support at least three Independent candidates in the February polls.
Rymbai, who joined the UDP before the 2008 Assembly polls, sent in his resignation letter to UDP president Donkupar Roy.
“When I have decided to retire from electoral politics, the best way to retire is to quit the party which I am affiliated to,” he said.
Besides resigning from the UDP, the veteran legislator, representing Jirang constituency, has also given up the post of the chairman of Meghalaya Economic Development Council.
However, the Ri Bhoi leader will play an active role in the ensuing electoral battlefield.
“Since I am no longer affiliated to any political party, I am going to campaign for three Independent candidates who have requested me to drum up support for them,” he said.
The Independent candidates include Teibor Pathaw from Mawlai constituency, Wallambok Mylliemngap (Jirang) and sitting Congress legislator Stanly Wiss Rymbai, who was denied a party ticket, from Umroi constituency.
“They (Independent candidates) have met me and appealed for my support, and I will support them by campaigning for them. I am hopeful that they will win,” Rymbai said.
On the possibility of his re-joining the Congress, he said, “I have taken a decision to retire from electoral politics, and hence there is no question of my going back to the Congress or the UDP.”
During the Meghalaya Democratic Alliance (MDA) government in 2006, Rymbai, who was then with the Congress, had replaced D.D. Lapang as the chief minister.
However, in March 2007 he was unceremoniously removed from the chair.
Rymbai became a legislator in 1988 after he was elected from Jirang on a Congress ticket. He was re-elected in 1993, 1998, 2003 and 2008. In 2008, he had contested as a UDP nominee.
He had also served as an Assembly Speaker and a cabinet minister, holding various portfolios.
UDP candidates: The UDP today announced two more candidates for the polls. These include retired Meghalaya Energy Corporation Limited (MeECL) engineer Highlander Kharmalki from Mawryngkneng constituency in East Khasi Hills and former Congressman Obil Kyndait from Khliehriat constituency in West Jaintia Hills.
Making the announcement, UDP working president Paul Lyngdoh said the party would field 35 candidates from 36 constituencies in Khasi-Jaintia hills and 14 candidates from 24 constituencies in the Garo hills.
From the Khasi-Jaintia hills region, the UDP will not set up any candidate only from Nartiang constituency in West Jaintia Hills.
Lyngdoh also said the party manifesto will be finalised on February 8 and the draft manifesto has been sent to the party workers at the district level for their suggestions.