Tura: After months of speculation, it became official that the former Speaker of Meghalaya, AT Mondal, had joined the National People’s Party (NPP). Mondal will be the party candidate for NPP from the Phulbari constituency in the upcoming elections in 2023.
This move has now led to a question on the future of the current NPP MLA from the same constituency, SG Esmatur Mominin, and whether the Trinamool Congress (TMC) will look to him to ensure the MLA wins again.
The move to accommodate Mondal may have begun more than a year ago following the Shyamnagar MDC, Habibuz Zaman, who was then with the TMC after moving from the Congress, being one of the saviours of the NPP-led coalition in the GHADC during a vote of confidence.
Zaman had voted for the NPP-led coalition, which led to speculation that it came about following the support of Mondal, who was instrumental in his win from the MDC constituency.
Mondal supporters, during constituency visits, whispered that Mondal was going to be the NPP candidate following talks between the leaders, more than a year ago.
Indications of the cross movement of the two leaders had been apparent even six months before the actual move of AT Mondal, with party supporters and close aides of the former Speaker asserting that the NPP would move away from their current MLA. What is even more interesting is that even the incumbent MLA was already aware of the move by his own party to disown him after feelers were sent to Mondal. It was only time before Esmatur moved to look for an alternative for himself as well.
This, as per sources, is currently being provided by the TMC, for which the MLA’s supporters have already begun to make a beeline.
Recent programs of the AITC that featured their leaders saw close aides and supporters of Esmatur Mominin joining the party at various events. They appeared confident that the AITC would not only provide them with a ticket but also pave the way for them to win the upcoming election challenge, which looks to be a close one if ground reports are to be believed.
Mominin’s move to AITC became apparent after TMC leader Mukul Sangma visited the Durga Puja pandals during the recent Pujas along with Mominin at Phulbari and Chibinang. Further, social media posts by followers of the MLA also sought to inform, albeit clandestinely, of the direction in which Mominin was headed.
Though it seems logical that Mominin would be accommodated by the TMC as their candidate from Phulbari, they are yet to issue an official confirmation.
Party leaders do not, for now, want to end speculation on the matter and asked for patience until the party came out with an official stand. Mominin however looks like a certainty for the AITC from Phulbari despite there being other ticket aspirants.
“He is their best bet to ensure the seat remains with their candidate. Being the current MLA, he will definitely pose a huge challenge to the more seasoned AT Mondal. Further, you have to also understand that like Mondal, the sphere of influence of Mominin too pervades other constituencies including Rajabala and parts of Selsella. The AITC will definitely look to leverage that to their advantage,” felt a local resident on Phulbari.
With Mukul Sangma likely to contest from Tikrikilla (along with Songsak), there will definitely be some influence from the TMC leader too in the local polls of Phulbari.
Another thing of note will be the number of candidates that contest elections, as these could cut into votes that otherwise could have gone to either of the two candidates. The Congress, BJP as well independents will definitely look to spoil the fun but will have to play out of their skins to cause an upset.
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