Bindo Lanong has effectively thrown down the gauntlet to the leadership of the United Democratic Party (UDP), saying that he will contest the next state elections from Nongkrem constituency with or without the support of the party.
The party’s adviser and nominated MDC was last an MLA in 2013 and has been rejected twice by the people of East Shillong. In recent times he has been trying to build up support in Nongkrem where he hoped to be the UDP candidate at the next election, which must be held by March 2023.
However, it came as a rude shock to the UDP veteran, who has shown total loyalty to the party he joined in 1997, that the leadership is keen on favouring sitting legislator Lambor Malngiang.
Nongkrem will be a much sought after seat, as Mawhati MLA Dasakhiatbha Lamare also intends to contest for it on a National People’s Party ticket. The challenge of former Nongkrem representative Ardent Basaiawmoit (who lost to Malngiang by fewer than 100 votes in 2018) should make the fight extra interesting.
Speaking to Highland Post, Lanong said that he will consider all options but is resolved not to back out of running.
Although the party has not publicly announced any candidates for 2023, Lanong has already been told that is not the party’s choice.
“I’m just waiting for the announcement of the list of candidates that will be awarded the party ticket in case they change their mind,” the former Deputy Chief Minister said.
Informing that he has also turned down offers made by other parties to join them, Lanong said that while he is a party loyalist, Malngiang has been jumping from one ship to another (he ran as an independent in 2018) and has yet to formally join the UDP even now.
Lanong maintained that his reputation has never been sullied by allegations of corruption and his experience of politics is second to none.
In August, UDP general secretary Jemino Mawthoh (who also lost the 2018 election) said that the UDP has the highest respect for the veteran members of the party but, when it comes to elections, the voice of the people is important. “If a party leader has been with the party for a very long time but is no longer wanted by the public then this aspect should also be taken into consideration,” he said without directly mentioning Lanong.