SHILLONG:

NPP leader and Cabinet minister Marcuise N Marak on January 31 exuded confidence regarding the upcoming Lok Sabha elections. Responding to questions about the Congress candidate Saleng Sangma, Marak assured that a robust competition lay ahead.

Recognising Saleng’s status as a sitting MLA, Marak underlined the NPP’s readiness for the electoral battle. “We are prepared for a robust contest. Saleng, being a sitting MLA, undoubtedly holds sway in the region. Thus, we are geared up for a formidable competition,” Marak said.

Expressing scepticism about the Congress’s impact, Marak highlighted the party’s historical struggle in the state, attributing it to a lack of prominent leaders. He asserted that the uphill climb for Congress would be challenging, given the party’s diminished influence in the region. “It will be very tough for them to come up to the level where they have been before,” Marak added.

When asked about Saleng Sangma posing a threat to Agatha Sangma, Marak dismissed the notion. He highlighted Agatha’s track record and the government’s performance, stating, “I do not perceive Saleng Sangma as a threat to Agatha’s candidacy. With the government’s track record of successful governance under her leadership, we are optimistic about securing the people’s mandate. Our unwavering commitment is to stand with the people and fulfill their demands to the best of our abilities.”

Regarding the BJP, Marak downplayed its significance, citing the party’s limited success in the state during the previous assembly elections. He suggested that the BJP’s presence might not resonate with the people of Meghalaya. “In the recent assembly elections, they maintained a status quo with two seats, reaffirming a consistent pattern. Thus, it leads us to the conclusion that their presence is not widely accepted in our state,” Marak added.

When questioned about Bernard Marak’s potential candidacy, Marak categorically rejected the idea. He stated, “Well, his candidature is also not acceptable in the entire Garo Hills district.” Marak cited Bernard’s past electoral performance as an MDC and asserted that his candidacy would not disrupt the NPP’s prospects.

On the possibility of Mukul Sangma joining the fray, Marak expressed indifference, noting that Sangma’s political influence had waned, and his candidacy posed no significant challenge. โ€œWell, his (Mukul) charm also has gone down. Therefore, we don’t find any threat with him also,โ€ he said.

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