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Conrad blames Mukul for state’s financial burden

Ex-CM says Congress only option to stop BJP

TURA/SHILLONG: The political sabre-rattling between rivals NPP and the Congress in the run-up to the April 11 Lok Sabha election in Garo Hills has begun.
In an election rally in North Garo Hills’ Resubelpara on Wednesday, Chief Minister Conrad K Sangma attacked his bête noire and former chief minister Mukul Sangma for introducing different flagship missions which were not result-oriented and led to “a huge financial burden on the state”.
Citing examples, Conrad said the then government under Mukul introduced Agar and Bamboo missions without preparing any research or document to map the skills of farmers.
“He (Mukul) had introduced several missions in the state leading to spending of crores of rupees from the state exchequer without any tangible result. He was least bothered to executive the missions properly, and the programme failed with a financial burden on the state,” he said at the election rally.
The chief minister said a handful of persons had immensely benefited from the schemes by supplying materials and samples at exorbitant rates.
“Mukul Sangma came up with his flagship programmes like Agar and Bamboo and these were supplied to the farmers by a handful of people at prices much higher than the market rate. The public will soon be made aware of those who benefitted at the cost of the common people,” he added. Accompanied by former MP Agatha K Sangma, who is contesting the Lok Sabha election from the prestigious Tura parliamentary constituency, which was represented by late Purno Sangma, the chief minister held several rallies in the northern region of Garo Hills on Wednesday.
Resubelpara MLA and Deputy Speaker Timothy D Shira, Government Chief Whip Marcuise Marak and a host of NPP MLAs and members of the district council also attended the rallies.
Seeking mandate for Agatha, Conrad said, “The upcoming Lok Sabha election is very important for the National People’s Party. People of Garo Hills, including people from different political parties, unite to support NPP as they believe that NPP is the only alternative for the Tura seat. I am confident that people of Garo Hills will once again think for Garo Hills and vote for NPP.”
However, Mukul believes that the Congress “is the only party that can stop BJP” from going ahead with its agenda that is unacceptable to the constituents. Talking to The Shillong Times, he said people of Garo Hills know him as a leader and “now it is their wisdom to choose their representative in Parliament”.
In Resubelpara, Conrad harped on PA Sangma’s leadership saying when he went to meet leaders in Delhi for development funds for Meghalaya, he was asked to wait but when the central leaders “came to know that I was son of late PA Sangma they straightaway called me”.
He told the gathering that central leadership has given due recognition to Meghalaya by according financial packages for Meghalaya as they recalled the contribution of late Sangma.
“If we elect and select an unknown person to represent us in Delhi, it will be a big loss for the people of Garo Hills. However, if Agatha is elected, the politicians irrespective of their affiliation would give her due respect and recognition and would listen to her,” said Conrad.
“Let us come together to vote Agatha Sangma, daughter of late P.A. Sangma, who has stood from this seat,” he added.
Talking about the NPP-led coalition government, Conrad said the MDA has been working hard to ensure development across Meghalaya.
Asserting that people in Garo Hills always stood for NPP during the Lok Sabha election, the national president of NPP said, “In our worst time we won the Lok Sabha election, today NPP is part of the ruling government and I don’t see any reason as to why people should have any doubt.”
National platform
Despite his denials, Mukul was finally named as the Congress’s candidate for the Tura Lok Sabha seat.
When asked why he plunged into national politics, Mukul said he decided to contest the election as he felt he can do justice to the available space for politicians from the North East and that he can contribute more to the Garo Hills region in particular and Meghalaya in general.
Also, “the national leaders in the party felt that I should join national politics and look at the scope in a larger scale from national and regional perspectives”.
Mukul sees this as an opportunity to see if his experience “can be utilised by joining national politics”.
Reacting to a query about his battle with the NPP in Tura, he said the margins of difference in the last few years were not much even as he added that in the last bypoll, there was sympathy factor for late PA Sangma.

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