From our Staff Correspondent
SHILLONG, June 23: The Meghalaya unit of the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) has decided to carry on with the party flag, but diplomatically stops short from telling the elected members to go with central leadership’s choice on Pranab Mukherjee as a presidential candidate. The intriguing decision that was arrived at a meeting in Shillong on Saturday evening is understood to have emerged due the multifold political complexities pertaining to developments after PA Sangma resigned from the party to contest the presidential polls.
Although issuance of party whip does not apply in the presidential elections, it has been a convention where elected representatives toe the line of the party directives. Today’s State NCP meeting centered on PA Sangma’s resignation from the party, his presidential bid, and the future course of action that the legislators and party workers wanted to take.
While the State NCP leader Conrad K Sangma announced that all the elected members have decided to continue with the NCP, his statement “at this present situation, status quo will be maintained” added to the political intrigues. His other statement “right now we are with the party and the situation may change in future” further substantiated the machination.
This could be further gauged from Conrad K Sangma’s statement on the growing support for PA Sangma in the past one week, even as he spoke as a State NCP leader. “Last week his chance was six per cent and now it stands at thirty two per cent,” stated Conrad Sangma.
It may be mentioned that the rejection of the NCP central leadership to support PA Sangma as a candidate for the president post has done gone well with the NCP workers in the State.
“All are sad to have lost a father figure, mentor and a tall leader of the state and the region”, stated the state NCP leader and leader of the opposition. Asked on whether the NCP legislators will vote for Sangma or Mukherjee, Conrad K Sangma said, “All of them will use their conscience in casting their votes.” The NCP leader even claimed that three to four Congress legislators (without naming) have told him that they would vote for PA Sangma.
Asked again on the possibility of action being taken, if the state NCP legislators fail to cast their votes according to the choice of central party leadership, Conrad K Sangma said, “Article 55 of the Indian Constitution said that the election to the President of India should be through secret ballot and electors can use their conscience”.
Terming PA Sangma’s quest for the post of President for the interest of the tribals, North East and the Christians as a bold move, the State NCP leader stated, “This is the closest that any tribal, Northeasterner or a Christian can reach Raisina Hills”.
The State NCP leader (happens to be the son of PA Sangma) also took a dig at the State Chief Minister, Mukul Sangma. The State Chief Minister on Thursday said that PA Sangma has shown signs of frustration after failing in State politics. Reacting to his statement, Conrad K Sangma said, “It’s a kind of disrespect to a senior man and insensitivity to the cause of the tribals, the North East and the Christians”.