Meghalaya chief minister Conrad K Sangma on Monday said Congress’ defeat in the Williamnagar by-poll will further boost NPP’s morale in the Ampati by-poll slated for May 28. He was speaking to media after newly elected NPP MLA from Williamnagar Marcuise N Marak took oath as member of the tenth Meghalaya Legislative Assembly.
“Each election is different and every constituency has got its own character and challenges. We cannot take anything for granted. The fact that we have won with a comfortable margin shows that the people have reposed their faith on us,” Conrad said.
According to the chief minister the victory in Williamnagar by-poll is a reflection that people are looking for a change which they want to continue with it now. “Therefore, this will definitely have an impact in the Ampati by-elections and we are going to the by-elections with a positive mindset that the people want a change. That change has come in, and we want to take it to the next level,” the Meghalaya CM added.
With Marak taking oath as MLA, the strength of the NPP in the state Assembly has gone up from 19 to 20.
The 60-member Assembly at present has 59 members, and a by-election to fill up the vacant Ampati seat will be held on May 28 and counting of votes on May 31.
Conrad also thanked the people of Williamnagar for reposing faith on the NPP and the Meghalaya Democratic Alliance (MDA) government.
Marak, who won by a margin of 4,920 votes from Williamnagar constituency, was administered the oath of office and secrecy by Deputy Speaker, Timothy D Shira at the old Assembly office, Khyndai Lad here.
The chief minister, deputy chief minister, Prestone Tynsong, home minister, James K Sangma and other legislators were also present.
Commenting on the preparations for the Ampati by-elections, Conrad said that the central election committee of the party would decide on the candidature of Clement G Momin.
The Congress has approved the name of Leader of Opposition, Mukul Sangma’s daughter, Miani Dalbot Shira as the candidate for the Ampati by-elections.
The by-poll is necessary after Mukul Sangma vacated the Ampati seat he held since 1993, as he was also elected from Songsak constituency in the February 27 Assembly polls.
The BJP which is an ally of NPP in the MDA government will again field Bakul Hajong as its candidate. Hajong was defeated by Mukul from Ampati in the February-27 Assembly polls.
Commenting on infighting in the Congress that led to its defeat in Williamnagar, Conrad said, “It is very unfortunate that the leadership within the Congress had to end up not supporting the official candidate. It is a matter of the Congress to sort it out. But when the situation is like this, definitely it will impact the morale of Congress workers and the confidence of voters will also go down. After seeing what has happened in Williamnagar, I think the voters as well as the Congress workers will be demoralized.”
The chief minister however refused to comment if Mukul is losing ground in Garo Hills.
“I am nobody to comment on that as it is for the people to decide. The people have reposed their faith on us, and it is our duty to carry that forward,” the NPP chief said.
On the NPP not working with the BJP in the Ampati by-elections, Conrad reacted, “Election is different and governance is different. We fought the election in the beginning separately. Party politics and party survival and growth are something that every party wants. Therefore we should not mix party politics and political aspect with governance. We are here to govern and we will complete our term of five years.”