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Conrad promises to be back

Shillong, March 5: Taking the recent defeat in the Meghalaya Assembly polls in its stride, the National People’s Party (NPP) today vowed to work harder at the ground level to come up with a better performance next time while accepting the people’s verdict.

“The outcome is the decision of the people and we feel that the new party tag went against us and moreover, we could not reach out to the larger section,” NPP leader Conrad K. Sangma said, adding that they took hope from the fact that they managed to garner 8.86 per cent of the total votes polled.

Conrad, former leader of Opposition in the Assembly, was himself defeated by Congress nominee Clement Marak from Selsella constituency.

The NPP contested from 32 constituencies in the recent elections and managed to win two seats from Dadenggre and Songsak respectively.

“We have to start recognising our drawbacks and we will work on them for a better performance next time. There is a lot that needs to be done,” Conrad said, responding to a query on the party’s plan for the Lok Sabha elections next year.

The former leader of the Opposition, while reflecting on the performance, said one could not negate the fact the individual performance mattered apart from the party reputation in the recent elections considering the case that altogether, 13 Independents made it to the final list.

However, the NPP, which held a review of the defeat, wanted the Election Commission to revert to the old system of casting votes through the ballot paper instead of the high-tech electronic voting machines.

“There is an air of disbelief among the voters who are shocked with the final results. We do not doubt the Election Commission but the peoples’ apprehensions must be taken into consideration,” Conrad said.

Unlike other defeated parties, a very diplomatic answer was on the way for those who posed the question on the involvement of money power and other means to make it to the pedestal.

To a query, Conrad said, “There is a clear-cut link but we cannot challenge that unless we have something substantial to show.”

NPP state president W.R. Kharlukhi tendered his resignation from the post saying it was his moral responsibility.

No information has been received on who would take over the state president’s chair.

“Decisions in this regard are awaited and will come after a constructive meet of the national party president P.A. Sangma and other members,” Conrad said.

According to Kharlukhi, one of the prime reasons for the NPP’s poor show was because of the fact that the party hardly had time to introduce the party to the voters.

The NPP was formed only on August 24, 2012 after 12 members of the NCP merged with the party.

“We hardly had time to explain to the people about our party. That was the general feeling of the candidates,” Kharlukhi said.

According to Kharlukhi, the party will now start reorganising itself.