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Meghalaya polls: Congress announces 1st list of 40 candidates

This is for the first time that the Congress is going to the polls without a single MLA in the outgoing Assembly.

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Shillong: The Congress party on Thursday announced its first list of 40 candidates for the upcoming elections to the 60-member Meghalaya legislative assembly which is scheduled to be held in February 2023. 

This is for the first time that the Congress is going to the polls without a single MLA in the outgoing Assembly. All its MLAs have deserted the party and have joined other political parties which includes the Trinamool Congress and the ruling National People’s Party. 

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These MLAs have claimed that the Congress now has a leadership crisis before quitting.

The list has some prominent names including Meghalaya Pradesh Congress Committee president and sitting Lok Sabha member, Vincent H. Pala from Sutnga-Saipung, former Deputy Chief Minister Deborah Marak from Williamnagar, former BJP vice-president John Antonius Lyngdoh from North Shillong, former Urban Affairs Minister Ronnie V. Lyngdoh from Mylliem, former Chief Executive Member of Khasi Hills Autonomous District Council P.N. Syiem from Pynthorumkhrah. 

The list also include the names of Champion R. Sangma, a former rebel leader of the outlawed Garo National Liberation Army. 

Announcing the list of candidates, Pala said, “Out of the 36 seats in the Khasi-Jaintia region, the party has cleared the names of 26 candidates and out of the remaining 24 seats in Garo Hills region 14 names have been cleared.

However, all these names are tentative as the list of names forwarded by the state unit will be vetoed by the party high command. 

“Most of these candidates are new faces and only 10 candidates are either former MLAs or MDCs (Member of District Councils),” Pala informed.

Of the first list of 40 candidates, the MPCC president said eight are women candidates, which constitutes about 20 percent of the first list. 

Moreover, he said there are six engineers, eight holds a Masters degree and one medical doctor by profession.

In the remaining 20 seats the party would send observers to decide the candidates and these observers would be sent soon to identify the candidates. 

“We couldn’t decide on the remaining seats, so we would send observers to make our decisions,” Pala said.

Ruling out pre-poll alliance, Pala said, the Congress would contest all the 60 seats on its own and exuded confidence that the party would do well in the 2023 Assembly elections.  

“Most of our candidates are new and have fresh ideas as they are highly qualified. The party is aiming at an absolute majority and is therefore, not looking for any pre-poll alliance,” he said.

On the other hand, the MPCC Chief lambasted the present NPP-led Meghalaya Democratic Alliance government stating it has failed in all fronts. 

He said the state has crisis in the power, health, agro and other sectors. 

He added if the Congress gets an opportunity to form the government it would formulate different interventions to overcome these shortcomings plaguing the different sectors of the state. 

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