Shillong, Jan 18: The United Democratic Party (UDP) has declared the name of five sitting legislators as its official candidates for the forthcoming Assembly elections after they formally joined the party on Wednesday.
These include two suspended Congress legislators – PT Sawkmie (Mawlai) and MayralbornSyiem (Nongpoh), HSPDP legislator and cabinet minister Renikton Lyngdoh Tongkhar (Mawkyrwat), AITC legislator Shitlang Pale (Sutnga-Saipung) and Independent legislator Lambor Malngiang (Nongkrem).
Four of the five sitting legislators were welcomed and felicitated by the UDP president Metbah Lyngdoh at a function held in the presence of party leaders and supporters.
Sawkmie, however, could not attend the function due to the sudden demise of a family member.
The five had earlier tendered their resignation as members of the Meghalaya Legislative Assembly.
Addressing the occasion, Metbah said with the joining of the five MLAs, the UDP now has altogether 12 MLAs who will be contesting the upcoming elections.
“Many have questioned as to how many sitting legislators will win the election but I will tell you that as per the survey conducted, all the seven UDP legislators will win and the survey has also revealed that all the five legislators who just joined the party will also win the coming elections,” he said.
According to him, 30 to 40% of the sitting legislators will again win the elections.
He said, so far, the party has been able to declare as many as 40 candidates while adding “we are still examining the 20 remaining seats and we will soon come up with the next list of candidates.”
Metbah said that the party has done due diligence in selecting the candidates to ensure people are satisfied with the decision. “If we hurt anyone, I apologize, we could not accommodate them since we have to take the right decision,” he added.
The UDP has denied ticket to its chief adviser and former deputy chief minister Bindo M Lanong who will be contesting from Nongkrem constituency.
The UDP chief also expressed confidence to cross the half-way mark and said, “If we get 30 plus seats, we assure the people of the state to take up all pending issues.”
Earlier, in his speech, Renikton Lyngdoh Tongkhar said he has nothing against the HSPDP. He said the only reason for him to quit the party was because he wanted to strengthen the UDP as the regional force in the state.
He, however, expressed regret that the objective to have a strong regional force has been defeated with the presence of too many regional parties.
“All want to strengthen the regional force but at the end we could see in the last 2018 elections, the UDP could get only 6 seats, PDF 4, HSPDP 2 and KHNAM 1. If our goal to have a strong regional force is not achieved then I am sorry to say that the regional parties will have a gloomy future in the state,” Tongkhar said.
On the other hand, Shitlang Pale, who is a three-time legislator said that he quit the Congress due to too much of infightings within the party. However, since the AITC was a new party, people were not ready to accept it due to which he had decided to join the UDP, he said.