From Staff Correspondent
Shillong, Aug 10: Perhaps getting a whiff of the likely outcome of the 2018 Assembly elections beforehand amidst reports of bitter wrangling within the party, senior Congress leader and former Chief Minister Salseng C Marak has exuded confidence of his party emerging as the single largest party. He, however, stopped short of claiming that the Congress will get an absolute majority on its own, thus reflecting the lack of self-belief in coming up trumps in the election.
Speaking exclusively to The Sentinel, the six-time MLA from Resubelpara in North Garo Hills district also dismissed the bickering within the Congress party as well reports that some MLAs are waiting in the wings to switch their loyalties.
Marak, who is also State Planning Board Chairman, denied any such plan on the part of the ruling party legislators.
“As far as my understanding goes, there will be no such exodus of MLAs or party workers,” he asserted.
He, however, added that there are some issues within the party that need to be addressed.
“I agree there are some within the Congress who are not too happy with two Cabinet reshuffles with less than a year for the Assembly elections. But, we have our own mechanism to deal with the issue,” Marak added.
The former Chief Minister was very categorical in claiming that the issue will not create any mass exodus from the party.
“In spite of what is being reported in the media, I can tell you with full confidence that the Congress will emerge as the single largest party after the elections. Though I can’t say that we will get an absolute majority,” Marak stated. He asserted that the reports of likely exodus of MLAs and party workers are not based on facts.
He further added, “As party members, we should all work together to look beyond trying to emerge as the single largest party.”
The former Chief Minister had led the Congress government without any dissidents within the party in the late 1990s.
On the latest Cabinet reshuffle, Marak said, “One should understand that it is the prerogative of the Chief Minister who to include or drop from the ministry, and individuals should take it in their strides.”
He felt that mere dropping of an individual from the ministry should not be a reason for him or her to think of becoming irrelevant in the government or the party.
With the NPP and BJP having already begun a strident campaign against the Congress-led coalition government, especially in five districts of Garo Hills, there are talks among certain quarters that Marak should be given the task of adding to Chief Minister Mukul Sangma’s political counter offensive.
He said, “All of us want to further strengthen the Congress and make concerted efforts to counter all the negative campaigns against us by our political opponents.”