GNC denies claims of support to Congress for Tura MP seat, GSMC backs Mukul

TURA: A day after one of its youth leaders announced support for Congress candidate Mukul Sangma for the Tura Lok Sabha election, the oldest political party in this part of the state- the Garo National Council has denied the move and termed the comments as that made in an ‘individual’ basis.

Senior GNC leader and member of the district council (GHADC) Augustine R Marak informed The Shillong Times that the GNC has not extended support to the Congress for the April 11th elections to Tura Lok Sabha seat.

His statement comes in the backdrop of a meeting at Chokpot constituency of South Garo Hills on Friday in which one of its party leaders who heads the movement for a separate Garoland state openly came out in support of the Congress.

“We in the GNC have not supported the Congress in this election. Whatever announcement was made by one of our leaders was perhaps in his individual capacity which is something we as a party cannot stop,” informed Augustine Marak.

In what can clearly be seen as a rift within the party itself, the chairman of the Garoland Statement Movement Committee, Nikman Ch Marak, in the presence of Congress MLA from Chokpot Lazarus Sangma, had openly backed the candidature of Mukul Sangma for this parliamentary election.

Nikman Marak unsuccessfully contested last year’s assembly elections from Baghmara constituency on a GNC ticket and was defeated by Independent candidate Samuel M Sangma.

Clearing the air on the confusion surrounding the GNC and himself, Nikman Marak informed that it is not the GNC but rather the Garoland State Movement Committee which has decided to give support to the Congress.

Interestingly, the GSMC is an offshoot of the GNC which has all along since its inception been advocating for the bifurcation of the state of Meghalaya into separate Garo and Khasi states.

“After the demise of Late P A Sangma the NPP had distanced themselves from our core demand for Garoland state. They are now in power but not even once they raised the issue in government,” charged Nikman.

He said that although both the Congress and the NPP are formidable political forces in the state, yet, neither party has included the Garoland issue in their manifesto for the upcoming polls and the GSMC decision ought to be a wakeup call to political parties for making ‘false’ promises.

“No single party is supporting us but, Congress has promised not to bring the Citizenship Amendment Bill which is an issue related to the future of our indigenous population, demography and land. That is why we in the GSMC have decided to back the party in this election,” informed Nikman Marak.