| D.D. Lapang at the news conference in Shillong on Monday. Picture by UB Photos |
Shillong, May 19: The Meghalaya Congress today vowed to rise from the ashes of defeat while Opposition United Democratic Party (UDP) vowed to pursue the “chargesheet” against chief minister Mukul Sangma and his government when the new dispensation takes over in New Delhi.
Meghalaya PCC president D.D. Lapang chaired a meeting of party legislators and workers to review the performance in the recent Lok Sabha polls.
While the party managed to retain the Shillong seat where its sitting MP Vincent H. Pala emerged victorious, it could not dethrone the “undisputed leader of Garo Hills” Purno Agitok Sangma in Tura despite the high-decibel campaign launched by the chief minister. “We gracefully accept and respect the mandate of the people. We will work hard to revamp and reorganise the party,” Lapang told reporters at Congress Bhawan here.
The PCC also passed a resolution urging AICC president Sonia Gandhi and vice-president Rahul Gandhi not to abdicate their party posts, but to lead from the front in revamping the party.
Lapang, who is also the chairman of the Northeast Congress Coordination Committee, said the party’s dismal performance in the region was no indication that the voters would remain hostile to it.
“The (Narendra Modi) wave could have been there, but our votes did not go astray. We also know the people are not hostile to the Congress. We will come back. We will rise, fight and win,” he asserted.
While the party might be rejoicing over Pala’s ability to retain the Shillong seat, voices of dissidence are already afloat with one Congress legislator coming on record to say that most of the party legislators did not support Pala.
The media had reported that Congress legislator Comingone Ymbon had openly expressed displeasure while most of his colleagues had allegedly not supported Pala. Ymbon had hinted at a move to topple the chief minister.
Asked to comment on the outburst by his colleague, Lapang said, “Everyone is free to express his views”.
Adding fuel to fire, UDP working president Paul Lyngdoh alleged that the Congress camp, led by the chief minister, had set up Independent nominee P.B.M. Basaiawmoit as the “unofficial candidate” of the ruling party in Shillong. Other regional parties like KHNAM and HSPDP had earlier urged the UDP to support Basaiawmoit as the consensus candidate.
“He (Basaiawmoit) was supported by a section of the Congress, and therefore, he cannot represent regional aspirations. The anti-Pala group had moved heaven and earth for the success of Basaiawmoit,” Lyngdoh alleged.
The UDP working president secured the third position in the election by polling more than one lakh votes. Basaiawmoit, who stood second, has reportedly blamed the division of regional votes for his defeat.
Lyngdoh said in places where KHNAM and HSPDP had no presence whatsoever, the candidate had secured a sizeable number of votes.
Welcoming the nationwide mandate for the BJP-led NDA, the UDP leader said the party would pursue the “chargesheet” it had filed in February against the chief minister and the government .
In its chargesheet, the UDP had named alleged politician-militant nexus, fraud committed in the appointment of schoolteachers, alleged corruption by the then Jaintia Hills Autonomous District Council chief executive member M.B. Rymbai and the inability to construct a new Meghalaya Assembly building even after 13 years, among others.
The “chargesheet” was submitted to President Pranab Mukherjee, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and BJP president Rajnath Singh.
The UDP echoed the demand of the National People’s Party for the chief minister’s resignation on moral grounds following the poll outcome.