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Shillong | Nov 02, 2018: 

The issue of ‘common candidate’ for the 2019 Lok Sabha Polls from Shillong parliamentary seat is yet to reach its logical conclusion with the indecisive nature projected by the partners of the Meghalaya Democratic Alliance (MDA).

Submission of suggestions and recommendations continue to pile even as the final decision is far from being unanimously accepted by all the coalition partners.

The Meghalaya State Planning Board (MSPB) chairman Lambor Malngiang has suggested that the common candidate representing the Meghalaya Democratic Alliance (MDA) should not contest from the party he belongs.

ALSO READ | Meghalaya: UDP names Jemino Mawthoh as Shillong MP candidate for 2019 LS polls

“We can consider of adopting a similar policy during the time of the formation of the Regional People’s Alliance (RPA). We may recall that during the 2004 Lok Sabha poll, Dr S Loniak Marbaniang had contested as the candidate of the RPA despite being a member of the HSPDP,” Malngiang, who is the one of the independent MLA supporting the NPP-led MDA coalition Government in the State, said.

According to Malngiang, Dr Marbaniang was allotted a separate symbol since he was contesting as a candidate of the RPA.

“The formation of the RPA was a unique one since the regional parties at the time was supporting the Congress led Government. The regional parties decided to come together to fight the Lok Sabha polls. But the attempt to set up the RPA candidate did not fructify as Dr Marbaniang was defeated,” he said.

The MSPB chairman, however, feels that this time round the alliance has an upper hand since they have the support of a total number of 39 MLAs.

ALSO READ | Meghalaya | MDA’s common candidate issue lingers on; consensus yet to be reached

“We can definitely win both Shillong and Tura seats if we project an individual as the MDA candidate not by allowing an individual party to contest in the name of ‘common candidate’ of an alliance,” Malngiang said.

The ruling coalition in Meghalaya includes the National People’s Party with the largest number of MLAs with 20. The UDP comes next with 9 MLAs, People’s Democratic Front 4, BJP and Hill State People’s Democratic Party with 2 each and one NCP legislator.

Reacting to the recent decision taken by the UDP to project Jemino Mawthoh as its candidate for the Shillong Parliamentary seat, the MSPB chairman said that the name of Mawthoh will be placed before the Coordination Committee of the MDA adding that the other political parties are likely to propose the name of their leader as the common candidate of the alliance.

ALSO READ | Meghalaya | Common candidate issue will have to be deliberated in MDA committee: Deputy CM

“But the final call on the common candidate will be decided by the Coordination Committee.  The committee is expected to decide on the issue of common candidate within this month,” he said.

The UDP has all the while indicated that it would contest the Shillong seat and Mawthoh has been making his intentions clear for months now that he would contest the seat from the UDP even before the party made any formal announcements.

The UDP vice-president, Allantry F Dkhar earlier had said that they are “hopeful” that the MDA would accept Mawthoh as its “common candidate.” “We believe in democracy, we subscribe to democratic practices and democratic principles,” Dkhar had said.

These differences, however, are a good sign for the Congress which would try retain the seat. The sitting MP Vincent Pala is likely to get the Congress ticket again and may retain the seat easily if the MDA fails to fight collectively.

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