SHILLONG, June 16: Khasi Hill Autonomous District Council (KHADC), member Neil Antonio War, on Saturday, joined the United Democratic Party (UDP).
War was formally welcomed into the party by UDP working president, Paul Lyngdoh in the presence of party vice president Allantry F Dkhar along with other senior party functionaries during a meeting held at the party president’s residence, Dr Donkupar Roy.
Speaking at the function organised by the UDP to welcome him, the Laitumkhrah-Malki MDC, said that with his joining the UDP he wanted to strengthen regionalism.
War also asked the genuine non-tribal residents to be part of the regional aspirations of the UDP along with the indigenous people of the state.
The MDC said that during his campaign in the assembly polls held earlier this year he came across many genuine non-tribal citizens who had contributed a lot to the state but their only grievance is that they are being made to feel as “outsiders”.
War also spoke about the alienation of land among the indigenous people of the state and pointed out how a richer tribal was ousting a less fortunate one with the lure of cash from their own lands.
The MDC pointed out that in Laitumkhrah indigenous people with cash from outside the locality are paying big money to buy land there.
“The person from Laitumkhrah goes to localities like Nongrah and Umpling and with the money he got from selling his land buys a plot there. The person from Nongrah/Umpling after selling his land moves out from his own place,” War said.
It may be mentioned that War was elected as Congress Member of District Council (MDC) from the Laitumkhrah-Malki constituency in 2014 but in the latter part 2016 after differences arose with the leadership of the party he joined the BJP.
Later when quipped by media persons if his move to join the UDP was an opportunistic one since he had contested recent Assembly elections on a BJP ticket, he said that it is not right to compare the last Assembly elections with the upcoming Autonomous District Councils in the State.
“There was no best options for me at that time when I had wanted to leave the Congress. The best option available was the BJP. I had contested the Assembly elections not with the intention to win. The decision to contest was to create a relations with the voters in my constituency,” he said.
War also claimed that he had planned to join the UDP since 2012-2013 but it never happened.
He admitted that the people at large in the State are yet to accept the BJP and it would time for the saffron party to create it strong based in the State. ”I am happy with my decision to leave the BJP,” War added.