Congress Meghalaya gears up for upcoming elections 2024

Congress Meghalaya gears up for upcoming elections 2024

Tura: The Congress poll bandwagon seems kicked off with the arrival of the new in-charge of Meghalaya and Tamil Nadu Congress MP, Dr A Chellakumar, who met Shillong MP Vincent Pala along with the top leadership from the Garo Hills region to look at ways to strengthen the party.

The meeting was also attended by Congress working president, Deborah Marak, the lone Congress MLA of Garo Hills, Saleng A Sangma along with former MLAs Billykid A Sangma, and Brigady Marak among others also in attendance.

The Congress in Garo Hills has been racked by desertions following the exodus of former CM Mukul Sangma along with several top leaders from the region all moving to the AITC. The desertions led to many writing off the grand old party.

However, despite the setbacks just prior to the election, the Congress put up a credible show in the 2023 elections, getting a similar number of seats in the state as the AITC.

The Congress has been in the rebuilding phase since the election with many districts in Garo Hills still to appoint ground-level workers. This matter was taken up in the meeting today with former MLA, Deborah Marak pointing out that the party still had not filled vacancies of DCC and BCC presidents and secretaries in the districts of EGH and SWGH. Even Dadenggre was in a similar state.

“The first thing we have to do with immediate effect is to put forward the names of all DCC, BCC and even booth-level workers who will take the party forward. Please put forward names so that approvals can be passed quickly as we don’t have too much time,” said Deborah.

The former minister maintained that the Congress stood a very strong chance of winning the MP elections from both seats in the state as people wanted change. She also hit out at the aloof nature of the current government which she accused of letting down the people that voted for them.

“Can you imagine that people, in order to meet their representatives, have to spend 2-3 days in Shillong and even then they are not given time? The government is working overtime for a few people and forgetting what governance is all about. This is absolutely sad and does not augur well for the state,” said Deborah.

Earlier, Saleng lamented the current situation prevailing in the state. “It seems the people of Garo Hills are extremely rich as they are not even protesting the sudden increase in prices of essential commodities.

Imagine the per unit tariff has been increased by the MeECL by Rs 2 and I am sure by the end of the year, many people will have their lines disconnected over the failure to pay bills. Surprisingly no one, not even NGOs is taking up such a crucial matter and neither is any other leader from the state,” asserted Saleng.

He stated that the habits of the people needed to change as the price of rice was only due to poor management of the government.

“We have the tendency of blaming the local dealers or the MeECL for increased prices. Can you imagine that the prices of 22 essential items have been increased in the state? This includes rice, sugar, and dal among others and all we do is blame the shopkeeper.

This is the result of shortsightedness. The government is increasing prices but keeping salaries under the 5th Pay Commission when everyone else is enjoying benefits under the 7th Pay Commission,” he added.

Saleng accused former CM, Mukul Sangma of the failure of the Congress to form a government this time blaming him for betraying the party that had made him.
“The Congress would be a part of the leadership this time if not for the betrayal of Mukul Sangma. Even DD Lapang betrayed the Congress despite the party making them both CMs. I have great love for the party and that is why I returned as the Congress will always have a place in the hearts of the people of the state. Even when I was denied a party ticket under Congress it was not the party but the intervention of one leader who has now deserted us,” said Saleng.

Both Saleng and Deborah have expressed a willingness to contest the upcoming MP election under a Congress ticket if allowed by the party to do so.

MPCC president, Vincent Pala urged those gathered to work for the growth of the party that gave Meghalaya its statehood. He further informed that the party had decided to set up ‘War Rooms’ in all constituencies in the country for the upcoming elections that would coordinate all efforts to ensure the party wins.

“The centre has also appointed coordinators and we will be making extensive use of social media this time to spread awareness of the contribution of the party to the development of the nation as well as point out issues being faced by people at all levels,” said Pala.

Pala added that the social media section of the party would take up 60% of local issues and 40% of national issues in the coming days.

Replying to a question put forward by former MLA Billykid Sangma of an alliance under INDIA, with the AITC, Pala said the matter has been discussed with the central Congress leadership and had asserted that they did not want to align with the TMC for the upcoming elections.

“We have made our stand with the central leadership. Besides the AITC seems to only have been a party to contest the elections as they have all fallen silent following the election. We are hopeful that the leadership will understand the sentiments of the people,” he added.

Dr Chellakumar, who has recently been appointed the in-charge of most NE states including Meghalaya expressed his gratitude towards those that made it to the program while also adding that he was confident that the party would do extremely well in the upcoming elections in the entire country.

“Where is the freedom under the present government when we ourselves cannot express our opinions in Parliament (122 MPs were recently suspended over the attack that took place in parliament).

We now don’t have the freedom to dress, speak or eat what we want under this dictatorial regime of the Modi-led government,” said the MP.
He added that the present government had done nothing new but only changed the nomenclature of various schemes that were taken under the Congress.

“Modi gas was our brainchild as was MGNREGA, education loans among others. The Congress’ contribution to the building of India is paramount as it has done with the state. Statehood was provided by the Congress along with IIM and NIT along with so many other things. The Congress is not losing but is being betrayed,” he asserted.
Replying to a question of money that was being sought for the development of the party, Dr Chellakumar tried to downplay the role of money in elections adding that it was more important to relate to the people at the grass-root level.

Party members had earlier sought the release of funds for the development of the party at the grassroots level as this is what they alleged the NPP was doing.

“Money may be important but it is also important to stand with the people as they will also stand with you during the election. I urge all of you to look at ways to bring about closeness with the people and work to strengthen the party,” he added.

The Meghalaya in charge is expected to visit Shillong tomorrow to meet up with party leaders after spending an evening in the town of Tura.

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