Congress finalises 55 candidates

From CK Nayak

NEW DELHI: High drama was witnessed in the series of meetings held at the AICC headquarters and Congress president Sonia Gandhi’s residence on Friday after which the ruling Congress could finalise candidates for 55 constituencies for the forthcoming Assembly polls.

The decision regarding remaining five contentious constituencies has been left to Mrs Gandhi.

The five contentious constituencies are Mahendraganj, Rajabala and Baghmara in Garo Hills and Mawryngkneng and Mawkynrew in Khasi Hills.

Sources said that Umroi legislator Stanly Wiss Rymbai’s name does not figure in the cleared list.

The names of Independent legislators AT Mondal (Phulbari) and Manas Chaudhuri (South Shillong) have also been cleared by the AICC.

The final list could not be declared on Friday night as Mrs Gandhi has to go through the proceedings, observations of the state unit, the screening committee as well as Central Election Authority which deliberated in details for past few days.

After hours of deliberations, the party could not take the final call on Rajabala, which is presently represented by Sayeedullah Nongrum and Mahendraganj from where Chief Minister Dr Mukul Sangma’s wife Dikanchi D Shira is trying to make a maiden entry into electoral politics.

The choice in Rajabala will be limited either to Nongrum or Abdus Saleh.

Friday’s meeting witnessed serious differences between Chief Minister Dr Sangma, aspiring for a second term and the MPCC president DD Lapang, who is trying to make a comeback in the state politics.

The basic understanding was that Chief Minister, who is also leader of the Congress Legislature Party, will not interfere in selection of candidates in Khasi- Jaintia Hills and Lapang will not intervene in Garo Hills, the undisputed domain of Dr Sangma.”But even this unwritten agreement was violated during the meetings at the AICC headquarters,” a senior Congressman told The Shillong Times on condition of anonymity. Interestingly, the AICC has put a ban on the state leaders not to reveal anything to the Press. Hence, it was not surprising that neither Chief Minster not MPCC president was available for comments. With much difficulties, the Screening Committee headed by Mrs Ambika Soni on Thursday could clear only 28 names. The Committee could clear candidates of those constituencies which had single aspirant.