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Rebel MDC files papers ‘fearing’ instability, surprises all

Grace Kharpuri has support of Congress

SHILLONG: People’s Democratic Front MDC Grace Mary Kharpuri sprang a surprise on Wednesday when she decided to file nomination for the post of Chief Executive Member of the Khasi Hills Autonomous District Council from the People’s Democratic Alliance.
Kharpuri was part of the new Khasi Hills Democratic Alliance (KHDA) in which the 17 rebel MDCs decided to nominate NPP’s HS Shylla as the consensus candidate.
However, the drama unfolded on Wednesday when Kharpuri informed the MDCs, who were on their way to the KHADC secretary’s room, that she would also file papers.
“It is surprising as yesterday (Tuesday) we decided about the nomination and she was also among the 17 MDCs present at the meeting. We thought she was supporting the KHDA but on reaching the room of the secretary to file the nomination, we were surprised by her decision,” Shylla told reporters after filing the nomination.
He added that there was a need to be united in the KHDA as the KHADC was confronted with issues of highhandedness of the previous executive committee.
The governor has fixed Thursday for the election of the Chief Executive Member). The election to the CEM post was necessitated following the resignation of PN Syiem on Monday morning before facing the trial of strength in the House session.
With Kharpuri filing her nomination, the new alliance strength is reduced to 16.
When asked, Kharpuri, who has the support of the Congress, said she decided to file for nomination “fearing” that the next executive committee will not be stable after the CEM is elected.
“Before selecting the CEM at the meeting, I have seen the division between UDP and NPP. There were 2-3 contenders for the post of CEM even though we decided to come out with a consensus leader from the KHDA,” she said and added that she was sure to get the required numbers.
Speaking about the procedure followed by KHDA to elect a member to be nominated as CEM, secretary of KHDA and UDP MDC Antonio War said the 17 MDCs decided to ask for open ballot instead of using a secret one.
“There was a proposal to resort to secret ballot for nomination to the CEM post. Ultimately, we settled for an open offer to whoever wants to project himself as CEM and it should not be from the party or from the members as it will lead to division,” he said.
In the open offer, former CEMs Shylla and HSPDP MDC Manstudy Nongrem offered themselves for the post while UDP MDCs Antonio War and Teinwell Dkhar also came forward.
War said discussions proceeded regarding the four MDCs were made in, which they settled only for one and that everyone were given a chance to propose themselves for the post of CEM. “We did not realise that Grace will file nomination from PDA,” he added.
Echoing War, Shylla said, “There was no thought on her part to project herself as CEM even as members were given a chance to do so.”
Criticising the Congress for extending their support on Tuesday but withdrawing it on Wednesday, War asserted that the party was looking for benefits.

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