The Telegraph
Tuesday , January 29 , 2013
Since 1st March, 1999
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Candidates’ chameleon habits

Shillong, Jan. 28: Political jerseys have never been tailored to fit a politician for a lifetime. As politics has always been a marriage of convenience, the jerseys have been fashioned according to the order of the day.

In the February 23 polls, at least 24 legislators of the eighth Meghalaya Assembly will no longer wear the jerseys they had been sporting when they were elected in 2008.

They will now march into the elections wearing a different one. But going by the past experience, one is not sure whether the new jerseys will remain with them till 2018 provided they regain the mandate of their electorate.

In the 2008 elections, the Congress had won in 25 constituencies, Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) in 15, United Democratic Party (UDP) 11, Hill State People’s Democratic Party (HSPDP) two, BJP and Khun Hynniewtrep National Awakening Movement (KHNAM) one each and Independents five.

But as of today, the above equation no longer stands. Since 2008, the political contours have undergone severe alteration where the original mandate from the people has been conveniently shed away.

The Congress, which had gained three more legislators apart from the original 25 because of defection and by virtue of winning in two bypolls, has deprived four of its legislators a party ticket for the February polls.

Another legislator will seek re-election from a different party while two have decided not to contest the polls.

Coming to the NCP, only one legislator will seek re-election from the party while 12 of them will contest as National People’s Party (NPP) candidates.

For the UDP, which currently has 10 legislators, at least one legislator will now contest from the HSPDP.

In the HSPDP camp, only one will seek re-election from the party while another will contest from the Congress.

Interestingly, the duo will be fighting each other from the same constituency.

For the BJP and KHNAM, their legislators are now with the Congress and the UDP respectively. Of the five Independents, three will now contest as Congress candidates.