Shillong: The National People’s Party (NPP) on Tuesday appointed Prestone Tynsong as the new state party president. Tynsong is also the Deputy Chief Minister of Meghalaya.
WR Kharlukhi retired as party president after taking charge for the last 16 years. Kharlukhi is the state’s lone Rajya Sabha MP.
Speaking about the party’s next challenges, Tynsong said that the NPP is preparing for the Lok Sabha and district council elections in Khasi and Jaintia Hills to be held next year.
His priority as new NPP state president will be to reconstitute the state level committee of the party followed by the district and block level committees to prepare for the coming elections, he explained.
The NPP is hoping to wrest the Shillong Lok Sabha seat from the Congress Party while holding on to that of the Tura seat.
When asked if the NPP has extended feelers to George Lyngdoh of the Trinamool Congress (TMC) to run as the party’s candidate for Shillong, Tynsong coyly said that it is not necessarily the NPP that approaches politicians in other camps but that everybody seeks out the NPP and the party’s door is always open.
“Detailed information is being collected for both the Tura and Shillong seats and we will announce the candidates by November and abide by the constitution of the party,” Tynsong said.
Stating that the NPP has a team in every North East state, he informed that DD Lapang, a former Meghalaya Chief Minister and adviser to the current government, still remains as the chairman of the North East coordination committee.
Meanwhile, Kharlukhi, who recently returned home after being stranded in Israel following the start of the current conflict with Hamas, expressed his thanks towards the NPP for relieving him as the party president after 16 years.
“We worked as a family and we succeeded in coming to power (in Meghalaya). I have no doubt in the leadership of Tynsong that we’ll come back again in 2028 and our target is an absolute majority,” he told reporters.
He said that Tynsong is a veteran of many parties, has won five Assembly elections, has been a minister and a deputy CM and with all these qualities and experience he is the right person to be the president.
He further said that one has to look beyond the narrow confines of whether a Garo or Khasi-Pnar person would be better at strengthening the party because the NPP has to consider the whole of the North East.
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“If you have a strong presence in Delhi, your voice will be heard. If you don’t have a strong presence in Delhi, nobody will (listen),” he said, adding that the resolution passed on the Inner Line Permit (ILP) and the inclusion of the Khasi and Garo languages in the Eighth Schedule of the Constitution have been stuck because Meghalaya only has three MPs in the lower and upper houses of Parliament.
When asked how difficult it is for him being the lone MP in the Rajya Sabha, he said, “Raising a voice in the Rajya Sabha is not a problem as you just have to fill up a form but it ends there and reaches nowhere. If we (NPP) have the presence of 15-20 MPs we will be the voice of the North East,” Kharlukhi said.
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