The Trinamool Congress (TMC) is giving a tough fight in Meghalaya’s upcoming Assembly polls slated for February 27. The poll performance in Meghalaya and Tripura, indeed, will decide the fate of the ruling party in West Bengal in the national level.
The TMC did not win a single seat in Meghalaya in 2018. But in November 2021, 12 of the 17 Congress MLAs, led by former Chief Minister Mukul Sangma joined it. Thus, the party led by Mamata Banerjee emerged as the main Opposition force in the north eastern State.
Charlse Pyngrope, a former senior Congress leader and former Speaker, currently serves as the TMC’s State president while Garo strongman and former CM, Mukul is the party’s leader in the Assembly. Sangma and Pyngrope, who are regarded as 2 influential leaders, represent the Garo and Khasi populations respectively.
As on date, TMC is leaving no stone unturned to eschew the label of party of the Bengali-speaking people, a comfortable win over voters in the tribal-majority State, will help it hike its acceptability across the nation by 2024.
On her maiden trip to Meghalaya last month, Mamata Banerjee said, “we have strong leaders like Mukul Sangma and Charles Pyngrope, unlike in Goa, and this makes us optimistic of winning the polls”.
While Mukul Sangma is the party’s face in the Garo Hills, where TMC has gained its foothold, Charles Pyngrope is the party’s strong leader in the Khasi dominated areas in and around the capital city of Shillong. The TMC will challenge Chief Minister Conrad K. Sangma with Mukul Sangma as his rival.
NPP president and CM Conrad Sangma will contest from his South Tura seat (in the Garo Hills), while Mukul has been selected as the TMC’s nominee in the two Garo Hills districts of Songsak and Tikrikilla. Garo Hills has 24 seats in the Assembly.
According to the TMC leadership, both Mukul Sangma and Charles Pyngrope, who have long been prominent figures in Congress, will be able to divert a considerable chunk of votes from Congress to TMC. Further, the TMC has also promised cash assistance of Rs. 1000 per month to the women in Meghalaya.
NPP has also named candidates 58 out of 60 seats keeping its option for post poll alliance with the existing MDA partners.
With 21 seats, Congress became the largest party in 2018. But all the legislators deserted the party and joined TMC and NPP and other parties.