Shillong, Feb. 11: Arch rivals during elections and friends soon after the votes are counted — the Congress and the United Democratic Party — today rolled out their poll promises through their respective manifestos with a pledge that the promises would be fulfilled if voted to power for the next five years.
But while the Congress exuded confidence that the electorate would create history by voting the party to power with an absolute majority, the UDP, on the other hand, appeared tentative while foreseeing another coalition government post election.
Meghalaya will elect members to its ninth Legislative Assembly on February 23 while the votes will be counted on February 28.
Both the manifestos revolved around several old issues, some of which are as old as Meghalaya itself, but which have remained unresolved for the past four decades.
Congress working committee (CWC) member Oscar Fernandes released the party manifesto at Hotel Pinewood here in the presence of Meghalaya PCC president D.D. Lapang, chief minister Mukul Sangma, AICC general secretary in-charge of Meghalaya, Mukul Wasnik, and a host of other party leaders and workers.
Amid factionalism and infighting within the party, Mukul Sangma radiated confidence that a “team” of “capable” representatives will come together post-February 28 to create new opportunities for the people of the state.
While making an appeal to the electorate to vote for the Congress, a confident Sangma said, “I believe that the people will give a clear mandate in favour of the Congress so that we can achieve our objectives.”
He said the time has come for the people of Meghalaya to give a mandate to the Congress and expressed hope that the “jinx” of fractured mandates will be broken on February 23.
On whether the Congress will be able to provide stability if voted to power, considering that the state is infamous for frequent alterations of governments, he said, “There is no reason for such a situation repeating since the party is focused on the agenda in the manifesto.”
The chief minister, who is seeking re-election for the fifth time from Ampati constituency, downplayed the role of rebel Congress candidates who were denied tickets.
Showering praises on the Congress-led Meghalaya United Alliance (MUA) government, AICC general secretary Mukul Wasnik said, “With several limitations, the government has been able to deliver substantially. But we have miles to go.”
Asserting that the state requires a stable government, Wasnik hoped that the people would support his party on February 23.
UDP stand: UDP working president and deputy chief minister Bindo M. Lanong said the consensus within his party was not to truck with the Congress post elections.
Since 2009, the UDP has been working with the Congress in the MUA government.
While calling the Congress a divided house, he questioned, “How do we form a coalition government with a party that is divided?”
The Congress is divided even at the district and constituency level.”
Foreseeing another fractured mandate and while claiming that the UDP would garner more than 20 seats, Lanong said after elections the regional party would work with “like-minded partners” and that talks with such parties are already under way. He also asserted that the party “means business” when it comes to fulfilling the promises made in the manifesto.
However, he said the party was ready to occupy the Opposition benches if it does not garner the required mandate to form the new government.