A conspiracy: Kharge on 12 Meghalaya Cong MLAs joining TMC
File picture of 12 of the Congress party's 17 MLAs in Meghalaya joining the TMC.

Shillong: With the emergence of the Trinamool Congress in Meghalaya politics, questions have been raised over whether the entrance of a new party is a threat to the existing parties in the state.

While senior NPP leader and deputy chief minister Prestone Tynsong has welcomed the TMC’s entry by saying “the more the merrier”, United Democratic Party (UDP) senior leader and Meghalaya home minister Lahkmen Rymbui said too many options make it hard for the voters to choose.

“The TMC has stepped into our state, so I leave it to the wisdom of the voters of the state but I personally feel it is a very healthy process,” the deputy CM added.

“The people of the state have already seen how the NPP-led government has performed and how we deal with sensitive issues; the people will understand and I’m sure they will have faith in the NPP-led MDA govt,” Tynsong added.

Concerning the remaining Congress legislators in the state approaching the Speaker to disqualify the 12 TMC MLAs, Tynsong said he doesn’t think these 12 MLAs are fools. “Don’t you think they have consulted with their legal experts? So I’m sure those MLAs have already calculated and consulted with constitutional experts before taking the step,” the deputy CM stated.

On November 25, former chief minister of Meghalaya and Congress leader Dr Mukul Sangma, along with 11 other Congress MLAs, formally announced their merger with the TMC.

Some of the Congress MLAs joining the TMC from Khasi Hills region include Charles Pyngrope, Hima Shangpliang, George Lyngdoh and Shitlang Pale.

The development is a major boost for West Bengal Chief Minister and TMC supremo Mamata Banerjee, who has been trying to expand her party’s footprint beyond her native state.

NPP legislator James Sangma termed the question of the TMC being a threat or not as rhetoric. He said that in politics, in the process of democracy, there will always be some kind of opposition and it is good.

The opposition keeps the government on its toes, Sangma said. 

“Whether a person or a party is a threat or not is something as political parties we’re always aware of. So to call somebody a threat or dismiss them, I think that’s not the right way to go about it,” said Sangma.

Rymbui, who seemed to differ from the NPP leaders, said that he sees the political development in two ways – one is that the BJP has succeeded in dismantling the Congress. “Through the TMC, we have seen the Congress has been divided,” he said. 

“Personally, I would say this is a not a good development for the state. In Garo hills region, it maybe a threat because they have few options but in Khasi hills region, it is difficult for the people because of several options. So for the people in Khasi and Jaintia region, they will only be confused when there are too many political parties,” the home minister said.

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