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‘Pala-Mukul stand-off led to Syiem’s suspension’

Differences over Congress ticket to KHADC chief

SHILLONG: The stand-off between Shillong MP Vincent Pala and Chief Minister Mukul Sangma resulted in the suspension of KHADC chief PN Syiem, a senior party leader said on Friday.
Sources also added that when AICC observer Mukul Wasnik and AICC general secretary in charge Meghalaya CP Joshi visited Shillong this year to know the opinion of the legislators regarding the change in leadership as raised by the dissidents, Pala who was also in the city had told media persons that he would make sure that rebel Congress member Syiem was not denied party ticket.
The meeting of the legislators, including the chief minister and MPCC president DD Lapang, besides the Shillong MP with the AICC leaders was held at Pinewood hotel.
After Syiem met the AICC leaders, Pala, who was also present at the meeting, had asserted that he would ensure that party ticket is allotted to Syiem.
What irked the chief minister was the assurance of the Shillong MP to allot party ticket to Syiem who was vocal against the government led by the Congress.
Waiting for an opportune moment, Sangma had his last word as the KHADC chief was denied party ticket owing to his three-year suspension, which means he will not be able to contest the 2018 Assembly polls from the Congress.
The MPCC under the leadership of Lapang ensured that Syiem was denied party ticket thanks to the intervention of the chief minister, party sources said.
Sources also added that Lapang, who was once unsuccessfully projected as the next leader by the dissidents, joined the chief minister and extended his support to him, besides agreeing to the idea of reining in Syiem.
Though Lapang had in the past expressed his inability to join the rebel group for being the president of the party, sources said since many legislators had projected senior Congress leader Prestone Tynsong as the next leader, Lapang, who disliked the idea of supporting Tynsong, aligned with Sangma.   The distance between Pala and Sangma had widened since 2013 as the Shillong MP was allegedly instrumental in causing the defeat of a few Congress nominees in the Assembly polls then.
Later, the chief minister did not support Pala whole-heartedly in the 2014 Lok Sabha polls though Pala emerged victorious.
The cold war between Sangma and Pala continued for long with a section of the legislators supported by Pala demanding a change in leadership which, however, is yet to materialise due to the division within the dissidents, especially from Jaintia Hills who are against Pala.


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