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New twist to LS nominee

Shillong, Jan. 29: Two-time Congress legislator Ronnie V. Lyngdoh today claimed that the party had projected him to be the candidate for the forthcoming Lok Sabha polls from Shillong parliamentary constituency.

Lyngdoh told this correspondent that his party had decided to project him as the candidate — possibly a move to deny sitting MP and former Union minister of state Vincent H. Pala a ticket. “As a loyal party man, whatever the party asks us to do, we carry out,” Lyngdoh said as he dodged further questions. “This is all I have to say for now,” the Congress legislator, representing Mylliem constituency which covers the Upper Shillong area and nearby villages, said.

Besides Ronnie Lyngdoh, the name of urban affairs minister M. Ampareen Lyngdoh did figure as the probable contender, but the block Congress committee of East Shillong constituency, which she is representing, objected.

A senior leader in the Meghalaya PCC today admitted that the block committee had sent a petition a few days back objecting to the idea of sending the minister to Parliament.

“The block committee argued that the constituency needs the service of Ampareen as a legislator and minister and time has not yet come to vie as a Lok Sabha member,” the leader said.

A source said a delegation of the block Congress committee met Meghalaya PCC chief D.D. Lapang, besides other leaders and Congress ministers, opposing any move to field Ampareen as the candidate for the Shillong seat.

Ampareen and Ronnie have not applied for a Congress ticket. Pala, former Speaker Charles Pyngrope and leader of traditional chiefs John Filmore Kharshiing are in the fray for ticket. Of the three, talks circled mainly on Pala and Kharshiing as potential contenders.

While sources in the Congress claimed that since no one from among the three aspirants could emerge as a “consensus” candidate, the party decided to zero in on the two legislators to estab-lish unanimity and ensure victory.

As the move to project the urban affairs minister is facing a roadblock, the Congress legislator from Mylliem may only surface as the “acceptable” nominee, sources said.

Before the final decision of the Congress high command, sources said the Meghalaya PCC election committee may be convened soon to thrash out the contentious issue.

Reportedly, some Congress legislators are up in arms against Pala’s candidature. However, indications are that the sitting MP still has the support of party workers in most of the blocks and units under Shillong seat covering 36 Assembly constituencies.

Though many favour Kharshiing, they, however, had second thoughts considering his slim chances of winning, besides being a new entrant to the party.

Last week, AICC secretary Vijay Laxmi Sadho solicited views of legislators and leaders on the three aspirants who had applied for ticket for the Shillong seat and eight aspirants from Tura seat.

From Tura, sources said of the eight applicants, Daryl William Cheran Momin, grandson of Meghalaya’s first chief minister Capt. Williamson A. Sangma, is emerging as the frontrunner.

The AICC secretary will submit her findings to the screening committee headed by Union minister of state in the Prime Minister’s office, V. Narayanasamy.

After completing the task in Meghalaya she was assigned for, Sadho left for Imphal two days back for a similar exercise.