East Shillong MLA, state cabinet minister and Shillong Lok Sabha seat hopeful Ampareen Lyngdoh has defended her right to vie for a seat in Parliament while still a member of the Meghalaya Assembly.
Lyngdoh, of the National People’s Party (NPP), had been criticised by a rival for the Shillong seat last week who said that, if the MLA won the race, it would lead to a waste of money as a by-election would have to be held to fill the resulting vacancy in the East Shillong constituency.
This rather weak argument was justifiably brushed aside by Lyngdoh. While it is not possible to hold two elected legislative seats – either two in Parliament, two in a state Assembly or one in each – it is possible in the law to run for a second seat while elected to a first or to contest two seats simultaneously. Numerous politicians have done this over the years.
“I am not doing something extraordinary or out of practice. It is a practice as per legislative laws, there is a provision for me to contest,” she told some reporters yesterday.
Lyngdoh has been seen much more often at numerous social events across Khasi-Jaintia Hills in recent weeks. Although not explicitly campaign events, there is no doubt that she and the NPP are trying to raise her profile in the minds of voters.
When asked about the response she is getting as a candidate, she said, “I never in my wildest dreams imagined that I would have a keen following and support wherever I go. I’m very, very grateful that the people of Shillong parliamentary constituency know their candidate. I’m so grateful that from a small child to a very senior citizen, I can hear them echo my name. And let me tell you one thing, that in itself indicates the kind of responsibility that comes along with this election.”
“I am not going to be seen as somebody who has disregarded this following that I have and hence my candidature will likely be more different than anybody else’s. And I feel that this blessing, if it comes true and if I get elected, will mean that I will have to work harder than anybody else,” she added.