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UDP names Paul as nominee

- HSPDP, khnam not to back contender

Shillong, March 11: The United Democratic Party (UDP) today officially declared its working president and legislator Paul Lyngdoh as its nominee for the Lok Sabha polls. The Hill State People’s Democratic Party (HSPDP) and the Khun Hynniewtrep National Awakening Movement (KHNAM) have refused to support the contender.

For the past week, the UDP had initiated discussions with the HSPDP and KHNAM to support Lyngdoh as the common candidate of the regional political outfits from the Shillong parliamentary constituency.

However, the HSPDP and KHNAM proposed that Lyngdoh should be replaced either by former deputy chief minister Bindo M. Lanong or legislator Jemino Mawthoh. Both Lanong and Mawthoh belong to the UDP.

“The meeting of party leaders held today was unanimous that Lyngdoh should be the candidate for the parliamentary elections. We have sought the support of other regional parties like the HSPDP and the KHNAM, but both had proposed to replace Lyngdoh with other candidates. However, it is difficult to heed the proposal,” UDP president Donkupar Roy told reporters at his residence.

Elaborating on why it was difficult to replace Lyngdoh, Roy said the UDP had been projecting the legislator’s candidature for the past few months, and that according to the assessment done by the party, he has a better chance of emerging victorious.

“He (Lyngdoh) has a better chance of winning compared to other candidates,” Roy, who is also the leader of the Opposition, said.

At the same time, he said the UDP has more representatives than other regional parties within Shillong parliamentary constituency. “We have our presence in various parts of the constituency, and we had hoped that with the support of other regional parties, we would be stronger,” Roy said. On why the HSPDP and the KHNAM refused to support the candidate, the leader of the Opposition said both the parties had told the UDP leaders that the chances of Lyngdoh winning the polls were bleak.

However, he said talks with the HSPDP and the KHNAM would continue in the days ahead to ensure that Lyngdoh receives their support.

Although the HSPDP and KHNAM have refused to support Lyngdoh, he said the UDP would continue to remain within the All Regional Parties’ Alliance (ARPA) in the Khasi Hills Autonomous District Council.

The alliance comprises the HSPDP, UDP and KHNAM. Ardent Miller Basaiawmoit of the HSPDP is leading the alliance, and he was elected the chief executive member of the council on Saturday.

Roy also announced that the National People’s Party (NPP) would support the UDP candidate in the polls.

As of today, apart from Lyngdoh, “people’s candidate” Rev. P.B.M. Basaiawmoit is the other contender who has confirmed his candidature for the polls. The Congress is likely to announce its candidate tomorrow in Delhi.