SHILLONG, Feb 05: Bringing conjecture and speculation to a close, the Congress party has announced its candidate for the South Shillong seat in the upcoming Assembly elections which will be contested by its former Minister, Manas Chaudhuri.
Chauduri’s name was included in the final list of candidates of the Congress party which was announced on Monday.
It may be noted here that Chaudhuri had earlier maintained tight lipped over his participation in the said polls after he had resigned from the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) earlier in the day in protest against what he termed as the arbitrary decision of the BJP leadership to allot the party ticket for the constituency to his bête noire, Sanbor Shullai.
He had also informed that many political parties have been offering him party tickets to contest these elections.
“We are totally disillusioned with this kind of arbitrary decision taken by the BJP’s high command. Therefore, I have decided to put in my papers and I have resigned from the party,” Manas said after submitting his resignation to BJP state president, Shibun Lyngdoh.
The BJP, which announced its first list of 45 candidates recently, had denied Chaudhuri a ticket and had instead given the same to the former sitting MLA Shullai, who had joined the party much later than Chaudhuri.
Chaudhuri said that a large number of people right from the mandal down to the booth level have also resigned in protest.
“The best protest is to say we severe our ties with the BJP. We are very certain that the people of Meghalaya are up in arms against a few things that are happening in the country,” he said.
Stating that the BJP in South Shillong is a closed chapter with his resignation, Chaudhuri said that no amount of money will make a difference as the people have made up their mind and are not ready to compromise their eating habits and religious beliefs.
He also added that the BJP has an uphill task of convincing the people that they are not against beef or against Christians. “We as members had tried but I tell you it is very difficult for people to buy our arguments because a lot of it is shallow and it doesn’t sell,” he added.
According to him, Meghalaya is predominantly a Christian state and Christians here feel threatened by what is happening in the rest of the country.
Chaudhuri said that he had joined the BJP on the request from the public and mainly on the request of the BJP’s top leaders who had even given the green signal to him to go ahead and work for South Shillong which he did steadfastly.
“But instead of me they have chosen sitting MLA. To me it is nothing personal whether they give me the ticket or how I serve the country is different but since I got an assurance from the top leaders of the party that the ticket will be given to me. In the last moment through a back door entry the sitting MLA got the ticket and created an impression that BJP can win through the sitting MLA. This is very wrong according to me as this is not the culture we want,” he said.
Stating that BJP has been campaigning against the sitting MLA for the wrong things he had done in the last five years, he however said, “Can you imagine that for one and a half years we have been canvassing that this is the man who should be voted out and suddenly the leadership tells he is the chosen candidate, he is the cleanest candidate, and also what they called a winnable candidate.”
Asserting that Meghalaya needs people who will think for the state and not just win elections, he said, “We are not here to collect gifts from the MLA but we are here to build our state.”