In yet another instance of pre-poll defection, probably never before seen in the political history of Meghalaya, a Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) legislator Marthon Sangma and another Independent legislator Brigady Marak resigned from their primary membership of the Meghalaya Assembly and joined the ruling Congress to contest the ensuing Assembly polls slated for February 27 next.
With the latest development, the strength of the 60-member Meghalaya Assembly, has been reduced to 44, after seven Congress legislators, two from NCP, one from the United Democratic Party (UDP) and six Independent legislators have already resigned.
Both the legislators exuded confidence that the Congress would retain power in the State and that there was no alternative to the Party in the State.
Significantly, four senior Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leaders spearheaded by former Shillong city president Keith Pariat joined the ruling Congress alleging ‘mismanagement in the BJP state executive committee’.
Meanwhile, the Conrad Sangma led National People’s Party (NPP) has decided not to have any pre-poll alliance with the BJP in the upcoming Assembly elections. Last week, five former Congress legislators – Rowell Lyngdoh, Prestone Tynsong, Coming One Ymbon, Ngaitlang Dhar and Sniawbhalang Dhar – had joined the NPP.
Former Congress legislator Alexander Hek, who was Health and Family Welfare minister in the Mukul Sangma Cabinet before being sacked last year, joined the BJP. Incumbent Chief Executive Member of the Khasi Hills Autonomous District Council P N Syiem had also resigned from the Assembly and joined the newly-floated People’s Democratic Front (PDF).
Moreover, veteran Congress legislators including four-time Chief Minister D D Lapang, incumbent Deputy Chief Minister Roytre Christopher Laloo and Health and Family Welfare Minister Roshan Warjri, have taken the back seat in active politics.