Arm in arm, Ampareen and Dr Jasmine Lyngdoh, filed their nominations as candidates for the February 27 Assembly election today.
While Ampareen, who is running for a fourth term, is the incumbent East Shillong MLA, younger sister Jasmine is making her first foray into politics by running for the Nongthymmai seat. Both are representing the NPP.
Nominations will be accepted until February 7. In filing their papers on the first day, the Lyngdoh sisters were following the family tradition laid down by their late father Peter Marbaniang and late brother RG Lyngdoh, who were both political titans.
Families and supporters accompanied the two while filing their nominations at the Deputy Commissioner’s office.
Jasmine will be up against formidable opposition in her first attempt to enter the Assembly, having to go up against the sitting legislator Charles Pyngrope (TMC) and former MLA Jemino Mawthoh (UDP). However, Jasmine described them as sleeping giants and expressed confidence that she will defeat them.
Meanwhile, independent candidate Pynshai Manik Syiem also filed his nomination for the Mylliem seat. Syiem had run in the 2018 election in Mawphlang on an HSPDP ticket but was defeated by the late SK Sunn.
Speaking to reporters, Ampareen dismissed fears of anti-incumbency and said there is a high possibility that her support will in fact expand.
“My principle always as a legislator is to ensure we involve the grassroots in all decisions taken,” she said. “Be involved and listen to what the people say and sort them out. This connection has improved over the years and I am grateful and don’t perceive there will be an anti-incumbency factor for me.”
Ampareen, from her time as Education Minister while in the Congress Party, is facing a court case regarding the infamous education scam.
Asked if this will have any negative consequences on her campaign, she said, “That is a matter that has been discussed and talked about. What we are doing now is going before the courts. I have full faith in the judiciary system of this country and until such time I am innocent of any wrongdoing. That will not affect my election because my people know and I am confident of no wrongdoing.”
Concerning why she chose NPP after leaving the Congress, Ampareen said that she was looking for a party that is of the state but with a national presence and whose ideology is close enough to her old party.
“It (the NPP) is not a communal party. It believes in inclusive politics and believes in grassroot politics and, this way, I follow in the same footsteps that I have always been coached and trained over the years,” she added.
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