In a surprising move, the five-member opposition Congress in Meghalaya has offered its support to the Conrad Sangma-led government in an attempt to check-mate the Trinamool Congress.
On December 17, the five Congress legislators led by their legislature party leader, Ampareen Lyngdoh met chief minister Conrad Sangma at the secretariat and made the surprising offer in “public interest.”
“We would now like to get into a different plane of governance where we feel that supporting the government, partnering with the government on agendas that are going to be productive for the people in general is something which is going to be far more productive than always presenting a hostile disconnect with the government of the day,” Lyngdoh said.
“This is not an outside support for the government. We remain an independent lobby within the opposition,” she added.
The ruling Meghalaya Democratic Alliance (MDA) is comprised of NPP, BJP, UDP, NCP and other regional political parties.
The Congress as an opposition has been the National People’s Party-led MDA government’s staunchest critics.
“This constant political manoeuvring would be disadvantageous for the public. So, the CLP (Congress Legislature Party) has unanimously decided we should now rise above our own concerns politically and focus on what is in the best interest for the public,” Lyngdoh said.
“We will rise above that and we will take head on an opportunity to work and partner with the government on important agendas that we placed before the chief minister,” the senior Congress legislator said, adding that, “so by and large, we are telling the people of Meghalaya that the Congress today will not be a hostile Congress.”
Former Meghalaya chief minister Mukul Sangma, who joined the TMC, has had fierce arguments with the chief minister in the assembly.
Many a times, the discussions between the chief minister and the then opposition leader turned into personal attacks without adding much substance to the discourse.
“Congress would be more positive in its approach and we would be able to now bring immediate attention to certain things left in backburners like teachers’ salaries, the Inner Line Permit issue, (Meghalaya-Assam) border talks among other issues,” Lyngdoh added.
This sudden change in approach within the party, which has lost its opposition status, would certainly turn the political heat up.
The TMC would be more worried as the Congress’ “first mover approach” would check-mate its chance of forging an alliance with the NPP for the 2023 assembly election.
Asked if the move by the Congress is also an indication of a pre-poll alliance with the NPP for the 2021 assembly elections, Lyngdoh said: “We do not want to pre-empt or to provide a narrative which is untrue and irrelevant to politics, we are very clear our system need to regroup itself. We need to build bridges and bring down all these walls that made Congress look like it is the government’s worst enemy, very simple.”
On TMC legislature party leader’s offer to the remaining five Congress legislators to join the Mamata brigade, Ampareen Lyngdoh said: “This drama of the breakaway group has to come to a sudden death at some point of time, don’t keep fuelling it, it doesn’t make sense to fuel something which is destructive in its ownself.”
“The nature of the move away (Mukul and 11 others joining TMC) in itself was very destructive. The TMC and the Congress was supposed to be a united opposition to fight an onslaught that is attacking secularism, that is attacking individuality, that is attacking local identities but today we see the sudden ambition is blinding them instead of unanimously fighting a common enemy, they have made enemies amongst ourselves,” the Congress leader said.