| PCC president D.D. Lapang in Shillong on Friday. Picture By UB Photos |
Shillong, Jan. 31: Meghalaya PCC chief D.D. Lapang today defended the name of two-time Congress legislator Ronnie V. Lyngdoh as a candidate for the forthcoming Lok Sabha polls from Shillong parliamentary constituency. “We (the party) should not limit to a certain number of contenders,” he said.
Lapang said the Meghalaya PCC did not project the name of Lyngdoh as the new aspirant for the Congress.
This is contrary to Lyngdoh’s claim that the Congress had decided to field him as the candidate from Shillong.
“We have never decided to project more people and Lyngdoh himself indicated to join the race the Congress ticket since the date for scrutiny has not been fixed. We still have time and maybe after second thoughts, Lyngdoh might have opted to put a proposal as a candidate for the Lok Sabha elections and the Meghalaya PCC invites that,” the former chief minister said.
Earlier, only three aspirants — sitting Congress Lok Sabha MP Vincent H. Pala, former Speaker Charles Pyngrope and John F. Kharshiing — were vying for the Congress ticket for Shillong.
As rift is now imminent within the Congress on the issue, controversy also dogs the top Congress leaders in the state over the sudden appearance of Lyngdoh’s name.
Lyngdoh’s name figured only this week, that too after the Congress high command had already taken the opinion from the party legislators and leaders on the three aspirants for the Shillong seat and eight aspirants for the Tura seat.
On the entry of Lyngdoh as an aspirant, Lapang said, “It does not mean we should limit ourselves to a certain number of contenders. We have been given more time.”
He also said the Meghalaya PCC’s election committee will meet on February 3 to review the latest position of the candidatures and Lyngdoh’s papers should reach before the scheduled meeting.
He said the scrutiny of papers and consultation at the grassroots level would take place so that the most successful candidate would be chosen in the course of time.
To a question whether Lyngdoh’s name came into the picture because the applicants have got less chances of winning, the Congress chief said, “There are no parameters to arrive at this type of opinion.”
The AICC has not done its scrutiny to judge winnability of the aspirants for ticket, he added.
When asked if the move indicated that Pala, the sitting MP was likely to lose the Congress ticket, Lapang said no such decision was taken on Pala and the AICC’s screening committee would check the papers of the applicants.
On Pala’s stand that he would not contest if denied the Congress ticket, Lapang said, “If he (Pala) is a disciplined party man, he should obey. If not, he is welcome to contest from anywhere and from any party.”