Taking it for granted that sitting MP Vincent H Pala will have the last laugh defeating a rare joint mission by chief minister Mukul Sangma and state Congress chief DD Lapang to bag the prized party ticket, results of this election is headed for a status quo in Meghalaya. While it appears that Congress is going to retain its traditional Shillong seat, Purno Sangma – it does not matter which party he is in now and whom he is giving the ticket or choosing himself for the race – has a strong chance of picking Tura in his kitty yet another time. Going by media reports in favour of Pala, it seems Congress made a matured decision by considering the winnability factor.
Pala’s richness and acceptability among Jaintia Hills MLAs irrespective of party affiliation are some added factors that might have caught the attention of the Congress high command. He is blamed by his detractors for doing nothing during his term. But this may not be the sole reason why Mukul and Lapang are running after his blood. It is Pala who is blamed for political instability that raises its ugly head very often in the state. Mukul Sangma had to take many urgent flights to convince the AICC against his detractors, thanks to Pala. Although Lapang might not be unhappy with Mukul’s trouble with the chair, the five-time chief minister has other reasons not wanting to see Pala for a second term. Disintegration among the regional parties over the candidate is another reason for the Congress to be sure about retaining the Shillong seat. The grand old party has lost the seat to Independent candidate GG Swell in 1984 election.
On the other hand, the Congress appears to have prepared for yet another bow down before Purno Sangma might in Garo Hills. When the latter, in a surprise move, threw himself into the fray, it became pointless for the Congress spend much money and energy for the Tura Lok Sabha seat. That was the precise reason why Daryl William Cheran Momin, the grandson of the state’s first chief minister late Capt Williamson Sangma, has been chosen for the Tura battle. However, there is still some doubt left over the candidature in Tura as Congress ‘mistakenly’ printed the name of state cabinet minister Zenith Sangma, the brother of Mukul Sangma, in the party’s first list of 194 Lok Sabha candidates across the country. By the bye, a status quo is looming large over Lok Sabha election in the state.
(Published as editorial in The Meghalaya Guardian)