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TMC unfazed by NPP’s brute strength in Garo Hills, says 60 percent didn’t vote for them

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TURA, April 16: The NPP’s Agatha K Sangma goes into this election knowing that she has the powerful backing of 18 MLAs from her party in the Garo Hills, but the TMC’s Zenith M Sangma says voting pattern is not the same when it comes to parliamentary polls.

“They (NPP) may have 18 MLAs with them in the Garo Hills, but do remember that each one of them won the election by securing 30 to 40 percent of the votes while the remaining were distributed among other candidates. That 60 percent of voters didn’t vote for the NPP. Why would they do so now?” questions Zenith Sangma while speaking to Hub News and The Meghalayan on the sidelines of an election campaign at New Tura.

“We have 4 assembly constituencies under our TMC leaders and 60 percent of anti-NPP votes all over Garo Hills. We already have 1,95,000 votes that came to TMC all over Garo Hills from the last elections. Can they afford to win?” asks the TMC candidate.

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When a response was sought from the NPP on this claim, a party leader replied, “They (TMC) says 60 percent didn’t vote for us, but they (voters) didn’t for them either, otherwise TMC wouldn’t be having just 4 MLAs out of 24 in Garo Hills.”

‘Saleng in fray not to win but to facilitate Agatha victory in Tura’

When pointed out to Zenith Sangma that not everyone would go to the TMC given that the Congress is also in the fray and has been emerging as a strong contender to take on Agatha Sangma, the TMC candidate ridiculed his opponent saying “a deep rooted conspiracy is there to try and block TMC’s victory”.

“Saleng is not here to win. His entry into the fray is solely to try and help facilitate Agatha Sangma’s victory by attempting to divide the anti-NPP votes. That is why we in the TMC have been raising this issue at every rally to clear peoples’ minds,” said Zenith.

‘Agatha development claims hollow’

While Agatha K Sangma has been hailing the development graph of Meghalaya under the chief ministership of her brother Conrad K Sangma, the TMC accuses the NPP of hijacking former Chief Minister Mukul Sangma’s projects.

“Be it the governor house in Tura, the Tura Medical College, Captain Williamson Sangma Technical University, college of Architecture and Urban Planning or any other infrastructure, it was all initiated by Dr Mukul Sangma and Conrad Sangma is just cutting the ribbon and inaugurating,” claims Zenith Sangma.

But Chief Minister Conrad K Sangma has time and again in the past clarified on the matter accusing Mukul Sangma of selling a pipe dream to the people by naming one project after another without even earmarking any funds for it.

“All the projects he created did not have any funding and was only in name. I had to hold multiple meetings with the central government and convince them to provide the required funds and that is how work could be started,” the chief minister had stated.

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‘CAA is an issue in this election and people are worried’

The TMC is of the opinion that the Citizenship Amendment Act remains a crucial issue in this election in Garo Hills, irrespective of Chief Minister Conrad K Sangma reiterating time and again that Meghalaya and 6th Schedule areas have been exempted from its purview.

“People are not buying the exemption story and are worried because once people are granted citizenship and enter India who is going to check where they go and settle down. We are already facing encroachment from Assam and influx from Bangladesh. CAA is very much an issue in this election,” believes Zenith Sangma.

The NPP responds to the TMC allegations by clarifying that outsiders and even non tribals within the state cannot purchase any land in the 6th schedule areas and authorities like the GHADC are present to ensure tribal lands are protected.

Read: Mira Borthakur files nomination for Guwahati Lok Sabha Seat

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