Picture credit: NRC website

Partners of the NPP-led Meghalaya Democratic Alliance on Thursday supported the state government’s initiatives to further strengthen existing infiltration check gates to rein in the possible exodus of illegal immigrants excluded in the draft NRC in Assam.  They also supported the candidature of chief minister Conrad K Sangma in the by-elections to South Tura seat so that his victory would further strengthen the alliance.

At the meeting in the secretariat attended by the chief ministers, ministers, MLAs and leaders of parties that are part of the coalition MDA government, some issues related to publication of NRC in Assam and the current situation in the neighbouring state was discussed besides the by-election to South Tura Assembly seat.

The six-party MDA coalition is led by the NPP. The other partners include the United Democratic Party, People’s Democratic Front, Hill State People’s Democratic Party, Bharatiya Janata Party, Nationalist Congress Party, and independents.

“The MDA partners deliberated on the NRC fallout and the present situation in Assam and advised the state government to take measures which include strengthening of existing infiltration check gates, and identify areas for setting up of additional check gates,” NPP leader and deputy chief minister Prestone Tynsong told reporters.

He said that the meeting also pointed out the need to strengthen existing laws and advised the government to revisit the Meghalaya Residents Safety and Security Act, 2016 and rules.

The act envisaged the setting up of entry/exit points to check the problem of influx in Meghalaya.

People’s Democratic Front leader and urban affairs minister Hamletson Dohling said all deputy commissioners and superintendents of police have been also instructed to maintain extra vigil to thwart any attempt on the part of illegal immigrants to enter Meghalaya.

On the by-elections to South Tura Assembly seat and Ranikor Assembly seat to be held on August 23, Dohling said as far as South Tura is concerned, all MDA partners wanted the chief minister to win the bypoll from South Tura and continue to lead the state as chief minister.

Conrad is facing Congress nominee, Charlotte W Momin, former South Tura MLA, John Leslee K Sangma and Chris Kabul who both joined the fray as independents.

“We want to ensure the victory of the chief minister and further strengthen the MDA government so that it lasts for five years and even beyond,” Tynsong added.

The MDA partners however are divided in Ranikor constituency, with former Assembly Speaker and five-time legislator, Martin M Danggo of the NPP, is facing opponents from among the MDA partners including the opposition Congress.

The NPP is fighting the by-election in Rankior with United Democratic Party candidate, Pius Marweiñ, People’s Democratic Front candidate, P N Syiem, besides Congress nominee, Jackius Sangma.

While Dohling said that his party would support the candidature of P N Syiem, Tynsong however said, “The fight in Ranikor shows that the lovely system of democracy we are having in Meghalaya.”

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