SHILLONG, Sep 07: Links with those in power are important for the United Democratic Party (UDP) which has hinted that it is open to a post – poll alliance with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) after the results of the 2018 state elections are announced early next year.
“How can we be inimical to the BJP as it is important and good to have link with the powers that be,” UDP senior working president Bindo M Lanong said after the party’s State Election Committee (SEC) announced the first list of 28 candidates here on Thursday.
Lanong, a former Deputy Chief Minister in the MUA-I state government, said that the party was supporting the ruling Congress in 2008 because the latter was also at the helm of affairs in New Delhi.
Being a member of the BJP-led North East Democratic Alliance (NEDA), he however said that the UDP is yet to have any political alignment with the BJP since NEDA is only a platform to find solutions to the different developmental issues concerning the North East region.
On the other hand, the UDP also expressed confidence that the pre-poll alliance between the regional political parties will end the years of what it termed as ‘misrule’ by the ruling Congress.
“Our main focus as of now is on the pre-poll alliances to ensure we get a majority of seats. We are fighting against the Congress as we want it to go because all the misrule of the Congress has to stop,” party president, Dr. Donkupar Roy said.
The UDP has combined forces with the Hill State People’s Democratic Party (HSPDP) to contest from 36 assembly seats in Khasi-Jaintia Hills region and with the Garo National Council (GNC) from 24 seats in Garo Hills region.
Denying the allegations that the pre-poll alliance is the brain child of Chief Minister, Dr. Mukul Sangma to ensure the BJP does not make inroads in Meghalaya, Roy said, “It is very wrong. Do you think that Mukul will want all Congress legislators be defeated?”
Agreeing with this, Lanong said, “Mukul is not even in the alliance so how can that be?”
Both the UDP leaders however claimed that the pre-poll alliance is welcomed by the people of the state as unity of regional political parties has been their long pending aspiration.
They also denied that there has been dissatisfaction from the party leaders over the seat arrangement especially in Khasi Hills region.
The outcome of this was recently witnessed with the resignation of UDP youth leader Hamlet Dohling after the party decided to support the HSPDP candidate from Mylliem, a constituency represented by cabinet minister Ronnie V Lyngdoh.
“Though nothing can have full satisfaction, we have the support of majority of the people. Most of the women especially have expressed that this attempt to have an alliance is a wise decision,” Lanong said.
He recalled that in 1984, the alliance between the APHLC and HSPDP from 29 seats, two were open seats in which APHLC won from Mawkyrwat and HSPDP from Langrin.
“This is nothing new and the UDP-HSPDP and UDP-GNC alliances are welcomed by majority of the people,” he added.
Roy however said that the Coordination Committee of UDP-HSPDP Alliance had already decided that the seat arrangement would be reviewed if needed.
Asked whether there will be a common election manifesto among the regional political parties, the Roy said that there will be common agendas between the three parties.
Roy however said that they have not projected a chief ministerial candidate because as per convention, the decision will depend on the elected candidates as to who will be the leader.