The Meghalaya Congress Pradesh Committee (MPCC) chief Vincent H Pala on Thursday slammed the 12 MLAs of the party for betraying the people of the state by merging with the All India Trinamool Congress.
“They (MLAs) have betrayed the voters, they have betrayed the people of Meghalaya,” Pala told reporters.
The Congress suffered a major blow when 12 of its MLAs led by former chief minister Mukul Sangma split from the party to merge with the TMC on Wednesday. The Congress was reduced to 5 in the 60-member House.
Stating that they were preparing for it, Pala said this is not the first time that the TMC is making its inroads in Meghalaya.
The Shillong MP recalled that (L) Purno Agitok Sangma became an MP from TMC and said, “We were preparing for it. We do not underestimate them after all of them are leaders.”
“It will be a big challenge for us, there is no doubt about that but we will face the challenge and I am very confident that the party will come out stronger with this incident,” he added.
When asked, the Congress chief said his appointment as the president of the party is not the reason for the split.
“It is not because of my induction as president. Honestly the change of the president was not initiated by the high command, it was not initiated by Delhi, it was the initiative from the state leaders including Dr Mukul Sangma,” he said.
Pala also claimed, “If you analyse it, 6 MLAs are from one family and the rest are mainly his diehard friends and followers, who because he (Mukul) was chief minister at that time…they might have taken his help for fighting elections.”
Whether Congress will be ready to work with the TMC as opposition in the Assembly, he however said it is too early to comment on this regard.
He also indicated that the move of the TMC may be to topple the National People’s Party-led MDA government.
Reacting to allegations made that the Congress is ineffective as an opposition, All India Congress Committee (AICC) in-charge Meghalaya Manish Chatrath said that Mukul Sangma has to be equally blamed as he was CLP leader.
“If Congress was ineffective, it was Dr Mukul and the PCC president who was in charge of the party in the state, so having said that it was ineffective then they are to be blamed,” he said.
Whether any legal action will be taken against the 12 MLAs, Chatrath informed that the matter is being looked after by the legal team of the party.
“So once we are clear with it, we will let you know, as now nothing has been decided on this front but in case something comes up, we’ll share with you,” he said.
When asked, the AICC leader said in politics there is nothing to be sad or happy just because some MLAs have left the party. He said that the aim of the Congress is to strengthen the party organization in Meghalaya for the upcoming 2023 Assembly elections.
On the question if it is the end of the Congress in Meghalaya, Chatrath said, “Do you think so, I don’t think so, I think people of Meghalaya love the Congress that is the reason they have given us so many seats, have given us government also in the past.”