All India Trinamool Congress leader and chief whip of the opposition, George B Lyngdoh said that swapping of legislators is an established phenomenon ahead of the polls and the coalition partners in the ruling Meghalaya Democratic Alliance (MDA) too are susceptible to it.
“There is poaching amongst the parties which are there in the coalition government. So, obviously they will try to poach people from the opposition as well. After all, the AITC has got a number of illustrious leaders who have been vocal for the people. So, I am sure they will try, but how far they will succeed remains to be seen,” said Lyngdoh.
He, however, didn’t completely rubbish the rumours of AITC legislators, especially from Khasi-Jaintia Hills region, defecting to other parties ahead of the 2023 polls. “I don’t know how far that will actually fructify because every party will try to increase the number of sitting legislators,” he said.
Lyngdoh, however, asserted that the party is with the people and those who are terming AITC as a Bengali party for political gains, doesn’t know the “history and the link between the Khasi Hills and Bengal”.
“The Trinamool is being called a Bengali party because its roots are in Bengal. There is nothing wrong in that, but efforts to taint the party with such political narratives in undemocratic as such divisive comments are against the democratic fabric of the country and its unity,” he said, asking how will narratives such as Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is a Gujarati party and National People’s Party (NPP) is a Garo party help.
Lyngdoh said people should first look into the rich history and social, economic and religious connections between Khasi Hills, Jaintia Hills, Garo Hills and Bengal before making such comment.
“As leaders of the party we are proud of the connect between Khasi-Jaintia Hills and Bengal. We will slowly try to make people aware of it and I feel, people will be proud of how previous leaders – both social and religious – have been instrumental in shaping the birth and growth of our state,” he said.
Stating that the AITC is the fastest growing party in Meghalaya, the opposition chief whip elaborated how, in a matter of few months, the party has been able to expand itself in 30 out 60 blocks.
“For a party like AITC to step in and be accepted by the people so readily, is a remarkable feat. This is due to the leadership of party president Charles Pyngrope and parliamentary party leader Mukul Sangma,” he said.
As far as the prospect of the AITC in 2023 is concerned, Lyngdoh informed that the plan is to field candidates from all the 60 seats but it is up to the party leadership to take the final call on the matter.
“As being said by our party leadership, individuals do not matter but what matter is, the party and the people’s support. That’s why we are moving ahead with a plan to field 60 candidates in as many constituencies. We are getting a lot of support and that itself shows that people have a lot of aspiration and hope from the AITC,” said Lyngdoh.