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Mukul strikes ‘secular’ chord

Tura, March 27: Meghalaya chief minister Mukul Sangma today highlighted the “secular” and the pro-tribal ideology of the Congress to strike an emotional chord with the people of South Garo Hills.

Addressing a rally at Rongara in South Garo Hills to drum up support for Daryl William Momin, the Congress candidate from Tura, he said, “The indigenous communities do not enjoy their rights in Tripura and Assam but in Meghalaya, the Congress has ensured the rights of the Garos.”

“You own the land and you have rights over forest and natural resources. This was guaranteed by the visionary leaders of the Congress,” he told the gathering.

Speaking about the contribution of Williamson Sangma, the first chief minister of the state and the grandfather of Momin, Mukul said, “Williamson Sangma was a native of Siju in South Garo Hills. He was an acceptable figure among all communities in Meghalaya. His contribution can never be forgotten. We are fortunate to have the young and educated Daryl William Momin, his grandson, as our candidate to fulfil the aspirations of the people,” he said.

Taking on Purno Sangma, who has won nine times from the Tura parliamentary seat, he said, “He has enjoyed all power and status as a Congress leader. The people of Garo hills have given him a favourable verdict for three decades. Today, he is shuffling around different parties. How can he fulfil their aspirations?”

“It is time now for all of us to elect Momin,” he added.

Speaking about the various development and welfare programmes being implemented by the Congress government in the state, Mukul said, “You have to learn to make your leaders accountable, which will ensure holistic development. I am working to ensure an accelerated growth for Meghalaya.”

He said, “I will come to you after the election to discuss what you need and will ensure that work is done in your area.”

Castigating Sangma for his remark that Meghalaya will not receive funds unless the BJP-led NDA forms the government at the Centre, he said, “The allocation of funds is done by an independent body — Planning Commission — and not by any government. Meghalaya will continue to receive funds based on the share earmarked for each northeastern state.”

Mukul said Sangma had forged an alliance with the BJP and Narendra Modi for his personal gains. Negating all the BJP propaganda, he said, “Be assured the Congress will form the next government and there is nothing to worry. Be assured the party will never collapse.”