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Saleng decides to contest polls as Independent

- Minister wants to prove Mukul Sangma ‘wrong’

Shillong, Jan. 24: Meghalaya community and rural development minister Saleng A. Sangma today said he will be contesting in the February Assembly polls to prove chief minister Mukul Sangma “wrong”.

Saleng is one of the sitting Congress legislators who was denied a ticket by the AICC, based on the “winnability” factor.

“By denying me a ticket, he (Mukul Sangma) thought that I will be losing the elections. However, I have decided to go ahead and contest the polls to prove that he is wrong,” he said today.

Saleng said he would be contesting as an Independent candidate from Gambegre constituency in the West Garo Hills.

The Congress had given the party ticket to Besterfield N. Sangma to contest from Gambegre.

While claiming that he was coming up as a young minister and a potential leader in Garo Hills, Saleng said, “There are no scam against me and I have been performing well as a minister. Officers who are in the department appreciate me and that is the main reason why the ticket was denied to me by Mukul Sangma.”

He also said, “He (Mukul Sangma) saw that I’m coming up in Garo Hills. He is scared that I could be one of the leaders.”

Saleng said he was one of those who were instrumental in bringing down the Meghalaya Progressive Alliance (MPA) government in 2009.

“I had even saved Mukul Sangma during the crisis within the Congress when there was a demand for his removal as chief minister. But he is a person with no sense of gratefulness,” he stated.

He said Congress workers in Gambegre felt betrayed by their own party, especially by Mukul Sangma. Till now they are together with him (Salseng) and have asked him to go ahead and contest in the polls.

Saleng will also resign from the cabinet as well as from the state Assembly tomorrow.

The other sitting Congress legislators who were denied party ticket include Samuel Sangma (Baghmara), Abdus Saleh (Rajabala), and Stanly Wiss Rymbai (Umroi).

While the Congress gave the ticket to Lazarus M. Sangma from Baghmara, another sitting Congress legislator, Sayeedullah Nongrum, will seek re-election from Rajabala.

In Rymbai’s place, the Congress chose road contractor Ngaitlang Dhar from West Jaintia Hills.

Both Samuel and Rymbai will contest the polls as Independent candidates while it is unclear whether Saleh, who is considered to be a close confidant of Mukul Sangma, will throw his hat into the electoral ring.

Besides, there is also other Congress workers’ in several constituencies who will contest either as Independents or from other political parties.


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