The United Democratic Party’s (UDP) state election committee today announced two more candidates for the upcoming 2023 elections, both for seats in Garo Hills.
The two are John Leslee Sangma for South Tura and Dr Pilne A Sangma for North Tura.
They comprised the UDP’s very short second list of candidates. The party had named 32 candidates in its first list in December.
With eight names finalised for seats in Garo Hills in the first list, there are now a total of 10 for a region where the UDP is hoping to make a comeback; the party won no seats there in the 2018 election.
Dr Pilne had stood as an independent candidate five years ago but lost. John Leslee, who was, most recently, very briefly with the BJP, stated that he decided to join the UDP due to the same ideology, namely to fight for the rights of the indigenous people.
In the BJP, the party was riven with differences and the “atrocities” against minorities, especially Christians, made it difficult to align himself with the saffron outfit.
Dr Pilne said that she wanted to work for the upliftment of women and also do more for the protection of children.
UDP president and Assembly Speaker Metbah Lyngdoh informed that the party so far has announced 34 candidates and will release a third list soon, which will include five sitting MLAs.
“The people of the state are looking for a party that has unity to address the issues that are there, the matters related to the welfare of the state,” Lyngdoh said. “We stand committed and we will try our level best to deliver those expectations if we are given the mandate in the upcoming election.”
Lyngdoh also expressed his happiness that the party has a female candidate in Dr Pilne, who, he said, “has been able to fill that space and she has been selected not only because of the criteria of being a woman but also because of her capability.”
Meanwhile, the three-time legislator also said that it was rather surprising that the National People’s Party (NPP), which is in coalition with the UDP but who are also the biggest rivals in terms of the election, has decided not to field a candidate for Lyngdoh’s Mairang seat.