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Ex-UDP leader Prof Malcolm Tariang joins NPP

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SHILLONG, Aug 4: Former United Democratic Party (UDP) leader Prof Malcolm Tariang on Thursday joined the ruling National People’s Party (NPP).

Tariang, a teacher by profession, was welcomed by the NPP national president and chief minister Conrad K Sangma and other leaders of the party during the confirmation of 16 East Shillong Block Executive Committee at the state party office.

The Conrad K Sangma-led MDA government’s decision to grant safe passage to the banned Hynniewtrep National Liberation Council (HNLC), steps taken to address the unemployment problem faced by the youth and quality in the leadership were some of the main reasons that prompted Tariang to shift from a regional party to the NPP, which is having a national outlook.

“This (decision to join NPP) was not just something which was an impulsive move or spur of the moment move. It was a well-thought move…I don’t mean to discredit any party as every party has the right to exist but I am here in the NPP because I feel that the leadership of the NPP has something to offer to us not only at the state level but even at the grassroot level,” Tariang told reporters.

He said there are also a number of things which throughout the last few months which cemented this decision. The professor cited that he was seeing tremendous anxiety amongst the young people because of the Central University Entrance Test (CUET).

“If this would have been implemented in Meghalaya I am telling you this year there would have been absolute chaos in the education system and especially amongst our young people particularly those in the rural areas,” he said.

Tariang also expressed happiness on the government’s decision to give young people a platform such as the Prime hub where young people have been able to launch their small businesses and do something for a living without depending on government’s rollouts, without depending on government jobs.

Tariang said as someone who works in the political and social space, he understands that the state cannot progress without peace or if there is a sword hanging above us while hailing the MDA government’s decision to provide a safe passage for the banned HNLC and initiating talks which have never happened before.

“We have heard government after government making promises and all that but here is a government who walks the talk. I studied in a school where the motto of the school was “deeds not words” and this government that showed action that is propelled by action so this is a harbinger of peace. I do hope and pray whatever is happening today and what is happening at this point in time with all peace talks and all that that something positive will come out of it and I am sure every citizen of the state whether a young person, a businessman, ordinary citizen wants peace for our state,” he said adding “These are some of the few things that made me take this decision but most of all as I said is because of the quality of leadership that I see in this party.”

Earlier, while addressing the occasion, Chief Minister Conrad K Sangma said Tariang’s decision to join the NPP is a great boost to the image of the party.

“it is a great boost to the capability of the party, it is a great boost towards the objective that we want to achieve as a party and I am very sure that in the coming days that Tariang will be a major force and a major person who will add much more value to all the works that we are doing in the state and take things forward not just from the party point of view and also from the overall policy thinking matters in all these areas I am sure he will be a huge asset for the NPP and the state as a whole,” he said.

Stating that there is a sense of direction under the present state government despite the challenges, Sangma said, “In the last four and a half years, there has been maximum numbers of policies by the government, maximum numbers of missions which have been successful not just missions for the namesake but missions that have actually yielded results or the maximum numbers of reforms that have taken place have happened in the last four and a half years. I am just telling you about the sense of direction and momentum that have been created by this government in the last four and a half years and we intent to take it forward.”

He said that bringing a change in the mindset is one of the biggest and the most difficult changes to make.

“Change in every area is important. We need to change many things but changing the mindset of the people or changing the mindset in a system is sometimes the biggest challenge,” he said while adding “If someone is to ask me what we have been able to do best in the last four and a half years is the change that we have brought in the mindset whether it is the public mindset, the self-help group mindset, the farmers mindset, the youths mindset or even the officials mindset.”

Further, the chief minister urged the people of the state to join the NPP which is providing a platform for people who genuinely want to make a change in society and genuinely want to take the state forward.

“Come and join us. Yes it is all about the party. All political parties are there but which is the right one, which is the one that will be able to bring that change or achieve that goal, it is only the NPP,” he said.

Meanwhile, NPP national vice president and deputy chief minister Prestone Tynsong expressed confidence that the party will win from the East Shillong constituency. NPP is likely to field sitting legislator Ampareen Lyngdoh, who has been suspended by the Congress for supporting the MDA backed by the BJP.

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