The Telegraph
Saturday , January 18 , 2014
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Cong lists LS nominees

Agatha Sangma and Vincent Pala, incumbent MPs from Tura and Shillong respectively

Shillong, Jan. 17: The stage is set to begin the process of selecting candidates for the Shillong and Tura parliamentary constituencies with the appointment of Union minister of state in the PMO V. Narayanasamy as chairman of the screening committee to shortlist the applicants.

Recently, AICC president Sonia Gandhi appointed screening committees for various states to decide the candidates for the 2014 Lok Sabha elections.

For the states of the Northeast, excluding Assam, the AICC president appointed Narayanasamy as the head of the screening committee.

The committee members include G. Chinna Reddy, AICC general secretary Luizinho Faleiro and PCC presidents Mukut Mithi, D.D. Lapang, S.I. Jamir, Gaikhangam, Lal Thanhawla, Kunganima Lepcha and D.C. Hrangkhwal.

Apart from them, the other members are Congress Legislature Party (CLP) leaders — Nabam Tuki, Mukul Sangma, Tokheho Yepthomi, Okram Ibobi Singh and Sudip Roy Burman.

Sources said Narayanasamy is expected to visit Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Tripura, Nagaland and Sikkim to initiate the process of shortlisting the candidates.

These states together have a total strength of just 11 Lok Sabha seats. Assam alone has 14 Lok Sabha seats. The seat break-up is Arunachal Pradesh 2, Manipur 2, Meghalaya 2, Mizoram 1, Tripura 2, Nagaland 1 and Sikkim 1.

The sources also said the Congress would be stressing on the “winnability factor” while deciding the nominees.

In Meghalaya, the Congress has at least three contenders for the Shillong parliamentary seat. They are sitting MP Vincent Pala, former legislator Charles Pyngrope and Congress leader John F. Kharshiing.

For the Tura parliamentary constituency, there are at least eight names which have surfaced. They include chief minister Mukul Sangma’s brother Zenith Sangma, who is also the state sports and youth affairs minister, Salmanpara legislator Winnerson D. Sangma and Meghalaya Pradesh Youth Congress (MPYC) general secretary Richard Marak.

The others are Daryl William Cheran Momin, grandson of Meghalaya’s first chief minister (late) Capt. Williamson A. Sangma, former bureaucrat Arlene M. Sangma, Meghalaya PCC general secretary Polycarp K. Marak, former legislator Adolf Lu Hitler R. Marak and former Meghalaya industries director D.K. Areng.

The Lok Sabha elections in April-May will be a decisive test for the Mukul Sangma-led Congress government to ensure that last year’s victory in the Assembly elections is translated into a success in both the parliamentary seats.

The Congress, which had won 29 seats from the 60 constituencies in last year’s Assembly polls, will look to retain the Shillong seat. It will also try to snatch the Tura seat, which has been the fiefdom of former Lok Sabha Speaker Purno Agitok Sangma — whose daughter Agatha is the current MP from there.