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Murmurs of dissidence begin in Meghalaya

By Raju Das
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SHILLONG, May 17 � After BJP�s historic election victory in the country, there are murmurs within the Meghalaya Congress for a change of leadership.

Apart from change in the leadership there are also talks of changing political equations in the Khasi Hills Autonomous District Council. These reports suggest that the Congress would join hands with its one-time regional ally, United Democratic Party (UDP) and form the Council. Now, the UDP is in alliance with other regional parties and running the Council.

Eventually, sources said, the UDP would join the Congress-led government to strengthen it. But, that would happen together with a change of leadership within the State Congress, sources said.

There are a number of reasons for this dissidence within the Congress. First, this dissidence against Chief Minister Mukul Sangma is nothing new. There were failed attempts in the past to dislodge Sangma from his post by Congress legislators. But the Chief Minister only consolidated his position after last year�s Assembly elections when the party put up its best show ever winning 29 out of the 60 seats and then with the help of the NCP and Independents formed the Government. The rebels were silenced.

But now during the elections and after, this dissidence has only surfaced. Before the elections, sources said, there were some issues between Sangma and the party�s official candidate from Shillong seat, Vincent H Pala.

Although publicly, both Sangma and Pala say that there are no differences, but the revolt against Pala on the issue of ticket allotment was there for everyone to see.

Many of the Congress legislators and some Ministers openly worked against the official party candidate. It is another thing that Pala won, but Sangma not canvassing for him during the election in the Shillong constituency had raised eyebrows.

And now after the election results it is being said that the Chief Minister, who spearheaded the campaign against Purno Sangma in Tura, failed. Moreover, Purno winning from Garo Hills and probably getting a suitable post in the NDA Government is not ideal for the Chief Minister. Both the leaders from the Garo Hills are bitter political rivals and at times the fight had stooped to personal levels.

Purno has been accusing the Chief Minister of having links with the militant groups of Garo Hills calling him the �chairman of all militant groups of Garo Hills�. The Chief Minister on the other hand remarked that it was the �last wish of a dying man� when reporters asked about Purno�s chances in the Tura election.

Such intense politicking would not just end with the parliamentary elections and observers say that a renewed offensive would be launched from either sides. Moreover, with Congress legislators likely to rise in revolt, it is definitely challenging times ahead for the Congress party and the Chief Minister.

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Murmurs of dissidence begin in Meghalaya

SHILLONG, May 17 � After BJP�s historic election victory in the country, there are murmurs within the Meghalaya Congress for a change of leadership.

Apart from change in the leadership there are also talks of changing political equations in the Khasi Hills Autonomous District Council. These reports suggest that the Congress would join hands with its one-time regional ally, United Democratic Party (UDP) and form the Council. Now, the UDP is in alliance with other regional parties and running the Council.

Eventually, sources said, the UDP would join the Congress-led government to strengthen it. But, that would happen together with a change of leadership within the State Congress, sources said.

There are a number of reasons for this dissidence within the Congress. First, this dissidence against Chief Minister Mukul Sangma is nothing new. There were failed attempts in the past to dislodge Sangma from his post by Congress legislators. But the Chief Minister only consolidated his position after last year�s Assembly elections when the party put up its best show ever winning 29 out of the 60 seats and then with the help of the NCP and Independents formed the Government. The rebels were silenced.

But now during the elections and after, this dissidence has only surfaced. Before the elections, sources said, there were some issues between Sangma and the party�s official candidate from Shillong seat, Vincent H Pala.

Although publicly, both Sangma and Pala say that there are no differences, but the revolt against Pala on the issue of ticket allotment was there for everyone to see.

Many of the Congress legislators and some Ministers openly worked against the official party candidate. It is another thing that Pala won, but Sangma not canvassing for him during the election in the Shillong constituency had raised eyebrows.

And now after the election results it is being said that the Chief Minister, who spearheaded the campaign against Purno Sangma in Tura, failed. Moreover, Purno winning from Garo Hills and probably getting a suitable post in the NDA Government is not ideal for the Chief Minister. Both the leaders from the Garo Hills are bitter political rivals and at times the fight had stooped to personal levels.

Purno has been accusing the Chief Minister of having links with the militant groups of Garo Hills calling him the �chairman of all militant groups of Garo Hills�. The Chief Minister on the other hand remarked that it was the �last wish of a dying man� when reporters asked about Purno�s chances in the Tura election.

Such intense politicking would not just end with the parliamentary elections and observers say that a renewed offensive would be launched from either sides. Moreover, with Congress legislators likely to rise in revolt, it is definitely challenging times ahead for the Congress party and the Chief Minister.

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