Incumbent Phulbari MLA Esmatur Mominin was dropped by the National People’s Party (NPP) as its choice for the February 27 Assembly election because he failed to deliver enough for his constituents, Chief Minister and NPP chief Conrad K Sangma said at a political meeting in Phulbari today.
Instead, the NPP has chosen former Speaker and Congress Party member Abu Taher Mondal. An aggrieved Mominin will try to hold onto his seat as a member of the Trinamool Congress (TMC).
Although Sangma’s attack was shrewd in that it paints the TMC as a party that chooses politicians who have failed to deliver, it also raises the question why the NPP never upbraided Mominin in public before if his record as an MLA has been poor.
“We found that despite so many projects sanctioned, implementation on the ground was dismal,” Sangma was quoted as saying in a press release. “As the leader of the constituency the buck stops with him. People were left abandoned and deprived of development in both the hill areas and the plains of the constituency and, for us in the NPP, the care for the public is paramount, which is why we had to take this decisive step.”
He said that he had received strong criticism from within the party for dropping a sitting MLA and there had been an orchestrated campaign through social media against him.
“The reason we chose AT Mondal to be our party candidate was simple,” he added, quoting his father, the late Purno A Sangma, “Never chase power, money or the chair. Work dedicatedly for the people and they will reward you.”
Many schemes and programmes were awarded to Phulbari but these were not implemented successfully, the CM said, while showering praise on Mondal as a politician who has worked diligently for all communities.
Phulbari is in the plains belt of Garo Hills and addressing a large rally can be seen as a determined attempt by the NPP leader to take the fight to the TMC’s Dr Mukul Sangma, who had always been popular in the area from his Congress Party days.
Yesterday, he was campaigning in another Dr Sangma bastion, Ampati.
From just two seats in 2013 to being at the head of a coalition in 2018, the NPP is now hoping to repeat something that has not been seen in Meghalaya since 1972, namely a clear majority in the Assembly.
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