By Our Staff Reporter
Meghalaya Pradesh Congress Committee (MPCC) chief Vincent H Pala on Saturday said the party was waiting for the five suspended legislators to reply to the show cause notice on their decision to support the NPP-led MDA government without the approval of the high command.
“The party is still waiting for all of them to reply to the show cause notice (issued on February 14),” Pala said over phone.
The CLP leader, Ampareen Lyngdoh, and four other legislators – PT Sawkmie, Mayral Born Syiem, Kimfa S Marbaniang and Mohendro Rapsang– have been given 10 days’ time to reply which is due to expire on February 24.
Pala, however, refused to comment on the MDA government’s decision to appoint four of the five suspended MLAs as co-chairmen and said, “They are under suspension and maybe they are determined so it is okay, I have no comment on that. They are all elected representatives and they know their job.”
Mawlai legislator PT Sawkmie and West Shillong legislator Mohendro Rapsang have been appointed as co-chairmen of the Meghalaya New and Renewable Energy Development Agency (MNREDA).
Nongpoh MLA Mayralborn Syiem was also appointed as co-chairman of Meghalaya Industrial Development Corporation (MIDC) and Rambrai-Jyrngam MLA Kimfa Marbaniang as co-chairman of Meghalaya Government Construction Company (MGCC).
He also informed that the suspension was with immediate effect and until further orders.
He said it was up to the All-India Congress Committee (AICC) how long it wants the suspension to remain. It will be decided by them following their reply to the show cause, Pala said.
“I have no jurisdiction over whether to suspend or expel the MLAs as only the AICC is the competent authority. My job is to only coordinate between the AICC and the MLAs,” he added.
He said the party would take action as per rules if the MLAs fail to reply within the stipulated period, adding that he had met all of them several times.
“I have nothing personal with them. Their action was mainly on the issue of development and it is nothing personal. I have done my best to convince them, but now it all depends on them as they are all elected members, they know where they stand,” he stated.
Pala further admitted that the Congress is now without any sitting legislator and said, “They run away but the mandate was given to them (in 2018) in the name of the Congress.”
He also said that it is too early to say whether the defection of the 17 legislators will affect Congress in 2023. “It may be good, it may be bad, it is up to the voters,” he added.
On identifying probable candidates for the next elections, the MPCC chief said that it is normally done at the block level. He said that many blocks and districts have informed the party and there are individuals who have already approached the party but nothing has been finalised yet since the party is yet to call for application.
Meanwhile, Pala said that the party is yet to discuss on the five constituencies.
“We have not done anything because until and unless they reply and we finalise their suspension, it is not fair for us to finalise on the candidates. We respect the mandate given by the people to them and the hard work of the Congress workers,” he said while adding that the party will take action based on the views of the workers in these constituencies.