Shillong, Aug 28, 2018:
The visit of Shillong MP Vincent Pala to NPP headquarter in Shillong yesterday, hours after the declaration of results of the twin bye-elections in Ranikor and South Tura has raised many eyebrows with rumours of him likely to join the ruling party in the state ahead of the 2019 Lok Sabha polls, storming social media platforms.
The question that has been doing the rounds here is- Was all this a mere coincidence or was it a ‘visit with a purpose’?
The current political developments in the state and the rapid growth of the National People’s Party is clearly a magnet for politicians to join its camp and political leaders like Deputy Chief Minister, Prestone Tynsong, former minister Rowell Lyngdoh, C&RD minister Snaiwbhalang Dhar, PWD (Buildings) minister Comingone Ymbon and former Ranikor MLA, MM Danggo (all former Congressmen) serve as perfect examples.
Moving on to greener pastures was every politician’s ambition to retain his position, popularity and secure his place amongst the 60 lawmakers.
The humiliating defeat of the Congress in both South Tura and Ranikor might have served as a ‘wake-up’ call for Congress leaders, who now think that their future looks bleak if they continue to remain with the opposition party. Everybody wants to be on the winning side and when politics is involved, it becomes all the more interesting and visible, though not certain.
In the case of Pala, this visit might have been purely unintentional involving no party as claimed by the Shillong MP, but then, his timing was all wrong, raising doubts and giving opportunities for people to speculate and analyse.
The senior Congress leader clarified that he had gone to the NPP office to meet the PWD (Building), minister Comingone Ymbon and not to be part of any celebration ‘on purpose’.
“I am not denying, I had gone to the NPP office yesterday but only to meet the minister as he said he was in the party office. I knew that if I went there, rumours would spread but I can’t help it… I had work to do,” Pala said on Tuesday.
It may be mentioned that a picture of Vincent Pala, taken soon after the announcement of South Tura bypoll results, along with members of NPP yesterday inside the compound of the NPP office, went viral on social media with rumours doing the rounds that he was likely sending feelers to the ruling party in the state with an intention to join the party.
Rubbishing the rumours, the Shillong MP further clarified that when he had gone there, it so happened that the members of NPP were celebrating Conrad Sangma’s victory in South Tura and since most of the Mahilas were ex-Congress members, they were no strangers to him.
“They were all clicking pictures and when they asked me to join, I did not hesitate. I am not a kid. What is there in clicking pictures?” he asked.
Amid speculations, the Chief Minister, Conrad K Sangma had maintained that the visit of Pala was a courteous one. “If there is any such development I am not aware of it,” Sangma said.
Similarly, a senior leader of the Meghalaya NPP claimed that the Shillong MP visited the office after he saw few of the leaders were standing outside the gate of the party office. “The visit should be not be linked with politics,” the NPP leader on condition of anonymity said.
Interestingly, this is not the first time where Pala was seen fraternizing with leaders of the ruling party.
It may be mentioned that Pala was also present with the Chief Minister during the swearing-in of Govenor, Tathagata Roy at Raj Bhavan on Saturday last. None of the Congress MLAs including Leader of Opposition, Dr Mukul Sangma attended the swearing-in of the new Governor.
“His (Governor) brother is my friend, who is an MP. I was invited and so I went there on a personal level,” clarified Pala.
Considering the spate of defection from the Congress to the NPP in the last one year, any political developments from hereon will come as no surprise.
Meanwhile, when contacted, AICC in-charge of North East, Luizinho Falerio has expressed his amusement at the reported rumours. “Never! that will never happen. He (Pala) will never ditch the Congress,” Falerio laughingly said.
When asked about the party’s prospects ahead of the 2019 Lok Sabha polls, the AICC leader said “The parliamentary election is different from Assembly polls. The Congress has a strong base in Meghalaya in as far as LS polls is concerned.”