SHILLONG, July 6 - Despite factionalism and dipping popularity, the Congress party on Tuesday put up a brave front, asserting the party would win the 2018 Assembly elections in Meghalaya.
Congress general secretary in-charge Meghalaya, CP Joshi said here: �We will form the next Government in the State in 2018, when we face the political challenge.�
However, there are severe cracks within the party that is visible for all to see. One glaring example being Khasi Hills Autonomous District Council chief, PN Syiem holding a simultaneous meeting today giving Joshi�s meeting a miss.
Joshi held meetings with Chief Minister Mukul Sangma, State party president, DD Lapang at a city hotel. Later, he held a separate meeting with Congress MLAs and party workers at the Congress Bhavan.
Syiem is a senior Congress leader and MLA from Mawsynram. Both Chief Minister Mukul Sangma and Syiem have been critical of each other�s way of functioning.
�You should ask him (Syiem) whether he called that meeting just not to attend this meeting. He is a CEM and he may have some urgency to call the meeting. I don�t know what the urgency is,� Joshi said when asked.
Joshi claimed there are no dissidents in the party, but everyone �aired their views democratically.� �There are no dissidents... In a democratic set up, the party functionaries have the right to articulate their feelings. So they expressed their opinions. Ours is a democratic, vibrant party,� Joshi said. He, however, did not elaborate.
The frequent infighting within the Congress doesn�t augur well for the party during the 2018 Assembly elections. The party�s popularity has dipped in Garo Hills where it lost miserably in the recent Tura MP bye-election to National People�s Party.
The sentiments are similar in Khasi-Jaintia Hills where the regional parties are getting together to fight as a coalition to defeat the Congress with the help of BJP. Some of the regional parties like United Democratic Party are appealing to like-minded parties to join hands together with NPP and BJP.