SHILLONG, Oct 31: The United Democratic Party has announced the name of its general secretary, Jemino Mawthoh as its candidate for the upcoming elections to the Shillong Lok Sabha seat even as it is set to propose his name as the common candidate of the Meghalaya Democratic Alliance (MDA) of which it is a part.
The decision was unanimously taken at the meeting of the state election committee (SEC) which was chaired by the party’s supremo Donkupar Roy here on Wednesday.
Mawthoh and Paul Lyngdoh, working president and former West Shillong legislator, were the two ticket aspirants for the Shillong seat. Lyngdoh had unsuccessfully contested in the 2014 Lok Sabha polls.
Speaking to reporters after the meeting, UDP vice president Allantry F Dkhar said, “After a lot of thought and deliberation in the past, the committee has finally decided that Jemino Mawthoh will be the MP candidate of the party from the Shillong parliamentary seat.”
He said that all the district presidents and chosen members of the state election committee were asked about a month ago to conduct relevant exercises in order to evolve a consensus on one of the two aspirants.
After that time period have lapsed, majority had insisted that they were ready and it is time to take a call and it is after taking each and everyone’s view that has moulded the consensus opinion of declaring Mawthoh, Dkhar added.
Expressing confidence that the MDA partners would support the proposal of the party, the vice president said, “Our confident is at the highest level because everyone knows the acceptabilitity factor of Mawthoh is undoubtedly high not only to MDA partners but to the voting electorate as well.”
“In times to come as we carried out the various steps and excerises to make him as the consensus candidate to be supported by the partners things will materialize the way we have foreseen right from the time we mooted the idea of a common candidate,” he said.
Whether it is correct for the UDP to project own candidate without having any discussion with other partners in the past, Dkhar said, “It is nothing incorrect when a party decides on something it would be incorrect to discuss with the partners without having considered the finality from within first. Now we have a product to talk about to the other parties.”
If the party is taking away the right of the National People’s Party (NPP) to decide on the matter in view that it being the single largest party in the Assembly, Dkhar however while denying this said that the UDP has no right to stop other partners from proposing their own candidates.
“What we are saying is let other partners bring forth their proposal we will discuss and decide who among the candidates is better as we believe in democracy we are United Democratic Party and that is why we subscribe to democratic practices,” he stated.
Earlier the first meeting of the MDA was inconclusive after leaders of different political parties decided to seek more time to discuss the issue of common candidate within their respective parties before coming back with their views.
Dkhar informed that the next meeting of the MDA is likely to be convened again on November 13.
When asked what if the UDP candidate is not acceptable to the MDA partners, the party leader however said, “Well at this juncture all I can say will cross the bridge when the time comes as it would tantamount to making suicidal statements if I were to answer to such hypothetical questions. We have just completed one important exercise as a party now the next the step is more important and more difficult.”
Meanwhile, the UDP also expressed confidence that the NPP would reciprocate to the proposal of the party that it should contest from the Tura parliamentary seat.
“As you know we as a party from the time of late PA Sangma we have supported them, we expect them to do the same,” he said.
Denying that the Roy had recently made a contradictory statement by asking the party leaders in Garo Hills to search for a candidate for the Tura seat, Dkhar said that it does not contradicts the stand of the party because there is a desire from among the rank and file of the Garo Hills leadership that they want to also put up a candidate.
“But we said mere declaration that we would put up an MP candidate would not stand us in good stead if we don’t know who so look for the candidate and if we think that the candidate can have an impact so be it but if it is just for sake of putting a candidate and getting nowhere we would strike it off,” he added.