Vice-President of the Khun Hynniewtrep National Awakening Movement, Thomas Passah, today told Highland Post that the decision not to allow Erson Marwien to contest as a party candidate in the upcoming by-election for the Mawryngkneng seat was the decision of the Returning Officer as directed by the Election Commission of India.
The regional party is a small player in Meghalaya politics and has just one MLA in the Assembly, namely Adelbert Nongrum, who is one of the claimants to president of the party. The other, who Passah supports, is Pyndap Saibon.
“Though Adelbert Nongrum had appealed to the Delhi High Court against this order of the ECI, he did not get a favourable reply,” Passah said today. “On October 13 Pyndap Saibon, the president of KHNAM, received a call from the RO to attend the hearing into the matter and we were intimated that the RO received a letter dated October 11 from the ECI which directs him that (Marwein should not be accepted as) a candidate of KHNAM since there is a dispute in the party.”
Passah expressed sadness for Marwein (who is contesting the seat as an independent) but said that Nongrum is “the only person who is to blame for this” as he pushed Marwein’s candidature despite knowing that KHNAM is split.
“It’s been more than two years since the KHNAM is in dispute and we are eager to settle this once and for all but justice should prevail. Saibon was elected as president at the general convention of the party in January 2017 where Nongrum was re-elected as the central executive committee member, so it is wrong for Nongrum to claim to be president,” Passah said. “We welcome the idea of an amicable solution but Adelbert has to stop proclaiming himself to be the president of the party.”