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Former Deputy Chief Minister and Chief Advisor of the United Democratic Party (UDP), Bindo M Lanong has exuded confidence that his party will open an account in the upcoming election to the Garo Hills Autonomous District Council (GHADC) scheduled to be held on April 9, 2021.
“Without fail mark my words, I am confident that we will open an account this time around,” Lanong told TNT-The Northeast Today.
The UDP, a regional party with its stronghold in the Khasi and Jaintia Hills, and an ally of the ruling Meghalaya Democratic Alliance (MDA) coalition, has so far not been able to win even a single seat in the elections (assembly & council) from Garo Hills.
However, this time, the party is confident of making a mark and changing the regional tag from being a Khasi-Jaintia Hills party to a complete regional party, with its base in all regions of Meghalaya.
The political landscape in the Garo Hills region is a little different from that in the Khasi and Jaintia Hills. Unlike its counterparts, people of the region have limited choices of parties to support or vote for, those being, the Congress, the National People’s Party and the Garo National Council (GNC) and in many cases, independent.
Lanong said so far, the party has identified 10-11 candidates of which it is confident of touching the 50 per cent mark.
When asked about the reasons for such a high level of confidence, the UDP leader said, “There are so many factors. People in Garo Hills know what is going on in the government. So, therefore, I am very confident we are going to open an account.”
Meanwhile, the National People’s Party (NPP) is looking forward to fielding candidates in all 29 seats while expressing confidence in winning the election and returning to power.
“The process of identifying potential candidates has also started. We will be able to declare the list of candidates only after the party election committee meeting slated to be held next week,” NPP leader Marcuise N Marak told TNT-The Northeast Today.
Reacting to corruption charges in the GHADC as alleged by the BJP, Marak said, “The opposition’s work is to criticise the government (Executive Committee), but the fact is that till now, they do have the evidence to justify their allegations. I hope people will once again give us a chance to work. We are streamlining the council and we hope to get the mandate again.”
When asked about the proposed plan of the Non-Gazetted Employees Association (NGEA) of the GHADC to boycott the election due to non-payment of pending dues, the NPP leader said that while the party understands their pain and grievances, the fact is that this problem was inherited from the previous government/Executive Committee.
“This is all part of the politics, nothing else. Everyone knows that the NPP-led Executive Committee was trying to clear the pending dues,” Marak claimed.
On the other hand, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) will likely field candidates in almost 60 per cent of the seat availability.
“We have received 18 applications so far, and we are hoping to secure a double-digit victory in the election,” BJP Meghalaya state president Ernest Mawrie said.
When asked whether the BJP is looking to tie up with any party pre- or post-election, Mawrie replied in the negative.
“We are not looking for a pre-poll alliance, but as far as post-poll alliance is concerned, we will see when the time comes,” the BJP leader added.