United Democratic Party (UDP) leader Paul Lyngdoh on Thursday said that the All India Trinamool Congress (AITC) will have more bearing in Garo Hills in the upcoming 2023 Assembly polls.
“The AITC will have more bearing when it comes to Garo Hills because its chief architect, Dr Mukul Sangma has been instrumental in the victory record of the Congress party in the past two decades or so,” Lyngdoh told journalists when asked if the entry of the AITC will impact other political parties in Meghalaya.
He however said, “But in the case of Khasi -Jaintia sector, I reiterate that our politics here has always been individual driven and based around personalities/candidates and not on political parties.”
The former minister also said that one thing that is remarkable about the entry of the AITC in Meghalaya is that it is seen as a “vertical split” within the Congress in the state where it first became very strong.
Stating that the AITC was seen as an alternative to the BJP, he however said, “But in the case of Meghalaya, the perception and in fact the reality is that because of the split in the Congress reducing it to a mere shadow of its presence all these years so the AITC is now seen as an emerging challenger in the power politics of Meghalaya before 2023.”
Lyngdoh further stated that his immediate reading is that the AITC-Congress split will play a very significant role in the Garo Hills sector and specially with the Congress being reduced to just 5 MLAs in the Khasi Jaintia Hills sector and also the emerging news that MDCs are deserting the Congress.
He also predicted that the Congress will be wiped out at least in the Garo Hills sector.
“(However) in the Khasi Hills sector, again I maintain that we need to do more analysis but the fact of the matter that in this part of the state, elections have always been centered around individuals,” he added.
Whether the political development will be an advantage to the regional parties in Meghalaya, Lyngdoh said, “Definitely it will be an advantage to regional groups /parties because we now have when enemy camp or the other camp is split or divided then there is bound to be as has already happened, the exodus of workers and supporters and also the perception that is gaining ground as at one point of time, the general perception that regional parties will not and cannot unite but today it has been shown and demonstrated very clearly that national parties like the Congress could not remain united once they are out of power, it takes them just less than four years to be out of power for them to be divided in this manner.”
Whether running a new political party is a tough task, Lyngdoh, also a former president of the Khun Hynniewtrep National Awakening Movement (KHNAM) said, “It is difficult to first be on your feet and even more difficult to make imprints to that extent forming and sustaining a political party is not a walk in the park, it is a difficult task.”
“We formed KHNAM with a lot of high hopes in 2002 and when it came to the elections ctions in 2003 there were only two of us we emerged victorious.
Then we took up issues like influx, reservation policy and the issue of MBOSE in 2005, I even step down as a minister.
But what happened in 2008, politically it didnt pay any dividend from two MLAs we were reduced to just one. So that’s the story of political parties,” he said.
The former student leader turned politician further stated that in the case of AITC since it is a split within the party and the majority are in fact with the AITC now it is different story altogether.
“As I said Congress has already been wiped out in the Garo HIlls now with that as a major consideration it will have huge bearing on what will happen in 2023,” he asserted.
Meanwhile, Lyngdoh also noted that it appears from the record one can gather this is the first time the state is having an opposition that is so divided adding “this is therefore to the advantage of the parties which are in the government.”