Tura: Rupa Marak, the TMC candidate for Dadenggre, is upbeat about his chances of taking on NPP bigwig James PK Sangma, believing he has every hope of toppling the 3 time MLA from the constituency.

“This time it is different. I was a political greenhorn the last time I fought the elections in 2018. As an independent, I had no advice on how to go about campaigning and there were pockets that I could have gone to in order to increase my vote base. However, I have learnt from my mistakes and am prepared this time,” said Rupa.

The local youth leader has literally changed the stakes in his constituency by making the election a two horse race instead of a multipronged one.

“We have always had a divided house in Dadenggre with more than 4-5 candidates that ate into each other’s votes. This time we are united. Till the day before yesterday, I was confused about my chances. However, after being joined by former MLA Augustine D Marak and the BJP ticket aspirant, Sutin Marak, all my doubts have been cleared,” said Rupa.

As per sources, no other party will field candidates from the Dadenggre seat and the battle will only be between the TMC and the strong base of James Sangma’s NPP team.

On issues that he felt would dictate the elections, Rupa felt the lack of development of the constituency will be a major factor.

“There was a feeling amongst people the last time about giving James another chance to work for the people as he was in the opposition in 2013-2018. However, despite being in the ruling party for the past 5 years, there is now a sense of frustration amongst us that James has not delivered on his promises to the people,” said Rupa.

On the opening of a new civil sub division in Jengjal, Rupa said he felt thankful to James on the issue but added that the greater demand, that of a separate district, needed to be heeded and worked on.

“People of Dadenggre have been demanding a separate district since the past 2 decades. I even led the forum that wanted this dream of ours to come true. My agenda, should I become an MLA, will be dominated by the demand for a separate district. James missed a point when no district was awarded to Garo Hills while one was given to Khasi-Jaintia Hills without much of a demand,” he added.  

Rupa added that if he could change things in his constituency, the first thing that needed changing was the education sector.

“Dadenggre only has one higher secondary school with an intake of 60 students in Class XI whereas there are more than 200 applicants every year. There is a need to create more sections so that those that are currently being denied, can be accommodated. People here are poor and can’t afford education elsewhere,” said Rupa.

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