Former Meghalaya Chief Minister Mukul Sangma has given a long list of reasons why he and 11 of the 17 MLAs in the state have quit the Congress. For one, Mr Sangma lamented the Congress has failed in working as an effective opposition party.
The announcement by Mr Sangma and the 11 MLAs that they would join the Trinamool Congress comes after months of festering disappointment over party colleague Vincent Pala being made Meghalaya Congress chief.
Mr Sangma had then gone to Kolkata, where he met the Trinamool’s election strategist Prashant Kishor for a “courtesy visit”. However, as the events unfolded last night, that meeting likely served as a springboard for Mr Mukul to switch sides. Mr Kishor’s election strategy team is in Meghalaya’s capital Shillong to prep the Trinamool for the 2023 assembly election.
“There has to be equilibrium in democracy. We need an effective opposition. We have raised this to the leadership in Delhi. We have made many trips to Delhi, but nothing happened… While looking for options for an opposition space, I ended up meeting my good friend Prashant Kishor ji, whom we all know, who can make a difference. I’m very happy to disclose, when we interacted, we shared the same objective – interest of the people supersede everything,” Mr Sangma said.
“This is a culmination of our long analysis and due diligence as to how best we can serve our people and the nation… In 2018, we became the single-largest party, but for reasons known to all of us we could not form the government,” Mr Sangma, flanked by the 11 other MLAs, told reporters today.
“Today, looking at the prevailing political situation in our state and the nation, we can explain as to how this is a very conscious decision we have taken… As the Indian National Congress, can we really fulfil our responsibility to the people? But I am sorry to say, despite our efforts, it seems to be elusive. There is a reason for us to believe we are failing in our duty as far as our role as the opposition is concerned,” Mr Sangma said.
The development, which makes the Trinamool Congress the principal opposition party in Meghalaya, came a day after Congress leaders Kirti Azad and Ashok Tanwar as well as Pawan Varma, formerly of Janata Dal (United), joined the Trinamool Congress in Delhi in the presence of party chief Mamata Banerjee currently visiting the national capital.
The Meghalaya Trinamool Congress was formally launched in 2012 with an intention to contest from 35 of the state’s 60 seats.