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UDP hopeful of a tribal President of India, to discuss Presidential election soon

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SHILLONG, JUNE 24: The United Democratic Party (UDP), which is the main ally of the NPP-led MDA government, will soon take a call on the upcoming election to elect a new President of India, fixed on July 18.

“Our president of the party will have a meeting with all the MLAs and we will take a decision on the matter,” UDP leader and Home Minister Lahkmen Rymbui told reporters on Thursday.

Stating that it is too premature to comment on the matter, Rymbui said that the Chief Minister Conrad K Sangma is also expected to soon call a meeting of the Meghalaya Democratic Alliance (MDA).

“As chairman of MDA, he (CM) will call a meeting of all the allies and whatever he want to speak he will speak in that meeting so I don’t want to prejudge the meeting so let us wait as tomorrow is the final day of filing nomination (for the presidential elections) and we still have time till the voting day so at an appropriate time we will let you know about the stand of the party,” he added.

When asked if the party will take into consideration the delay of the Centre to implement the Inner Line Permit (ILP) and inclusion of Khasi and Garo languages in the Eighth Schedule to the Constitution of India, the minister however said, “We have not deliberated on what are the issues. So we will discuss first and then we will let you know.”

Meanwhile, Rymbui has referred to the BJP’s decision to field Droupadi Murmu, an indigenous tribal woman, as its presidential candidate as a “big step”.

He said the tribal community in the country are one of the most backward tribes and that is why the government of India has reservation be it for jobs or other facilities provided to the tribal community.

“As a tribal, I think this is a big step forward,” he said.

According to him, this is not the first time a tribal has contested for the presidential election. He recalled that (L) Prof GG Swell and (L) PA Sangma had unsuccessfully contested for the office of the President in the past.

“So let us hope the third time will be lucky for the tribal population in the country,” Rymbui said.

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