The Telegraph
Friday , February 28 , 2014
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Regional parties gain ground

Shillong, Feb. 27: Regional political parties have a reason to be upbeat after they managed to eat into the ruling Congress’s share in the Khasi Hills Autonomous District Council polls, whose results were declared today.

The Congress lost all the five constituencies in West Khasi Hills, while it managed to win a seat each in Shillong and in South West Khasi Hills district, which fall under the Khasi council.

In West Khasi Hills, the Hill State People’s Democratic Party (HSPDP) won three seats while the United Democratic Party (UDP) won the other two.

From Shillong, the Congress could win only from the Laitumkhrah-Malki constituency, where its nominee Neil Antonio War emerged victorious. In South West Khasi Hills, veteran Congress leader Manstudy Nongrem retained his seat from Langrin constituency.

“The mandate in the Khasi polls was more in favour of the regional parties than the Congress. The executive committee should be formed by regional parties so it will reflect the mandate of the people,” UDP working president Bindo M. Lanong said.

The regional parties — the HSPDP, the UDP and the Khun Hynniewtrep National Awakening Movement (KHNAM) — together won 17 out of the 29 seats under the Khasi council. If the three parties decide to work together, the Congress would have to remain out of power in the council.

HSPDP vice-president Ardent Miller Basaiawmoit, who also won his maiden entry into the district council, said the party was not against the idea of working together with the UDP and the KHNAM.

The three parties have maintained that they would not join hands with the Congress to form the executive committee.

On the poor performance of regional parties in the Jaintia Hills Autonomous District Council polls, Lanong attributed it to the use of money power to sway voters.

In the Jaintia hills council, the Congress won 14 out of the 29 seats, while the UDP won six and the rest nine seats were won by Independent candidates.

However, following the Khasi council results, the regional parties are upbeat about putting up a united fight against the Congress in the forthcoming Lok Sabha polls from Shillong parliamentary seat.

There are seven Assembly segments falling within the Jaintia hills council and 29 under the Khasi council. These 36 constituencies in Khasi and Jaintia hills constitute the Shillong Lok Sabha seat.

“We have decided not to field any candidate for the Shillong seat but to support a common nominee. We will try to convince other regional parties to extend their support,” Basaiawmoit said.

The HSPDP had earlier declared its support to the “people’s candidate” Rev. P.B.M. Basaiawmoit.

However, the UDP was yet to decide on supporting a common candidate for the parliamentary elections, as it had earlier projected the name of its working president and legislator Paul Lyngdoh.