Leave NPP camp, Meghalaya NGOs tell regional party MLAs 

Some tribe-based organisations stage protest in Shillong after miscreants tried to set fire to the office of one of the MLAs on Friday night

March 04, 2023 10:01 pm | Updated 10:01 pm IST - GUWAHATI

Members of at least three tribe-based organisations in Meghalaya have asked two newly-elected MLAs of the regional Hill State People’s Democratic Party (HSPDP) to leave the National People’s Party (NPP) camp headed by Conrad K. Sangma.

They mounted pressure on the two MLAs — Methodius Dkhar and Shakliar Warjri — by staging a protest in Meghalaya’s capital Shillong and burning their effigies on Saturday, a day after Mr. Sangma claimed the support of 32 MLAs in the 60-member Assembly.

The two were also allegedly intimidated late Friday night when miscreants tried to set fire to the office of a firm owned by Mr. Dkhar.

Soon after Mr. Sangma met Governor Phagu Chauhan and staked claim to form the government, the United Democratic Party (UDP) and Trinamool Congress (TMC) organised a meeting of all the regional parties in a bid to form a government without the NPP and the BJP.

The NPP emerged as the single-largest party with 26 MLAs followed by the UDP with 11, the TMC and Congress with five each, the Voice of the People Party with four, and the BJP, HSPDP and People’s Democratic Front with two each. Two seats went to independents.

Mr. Dkhar and Mr. Warjri slipped out of the meeting reportedly to have some tea and met Mr. Sangma with a letter of support. This upset the regional party’s calculations.

HSPDP president K.P. Pangniang lost no time in writing to Mr. Sangma stating that his party “did not authorise the duo to lend support for the formation of your government”. He further wrote that the HSPDP has decided to “withdraw our support to your party, effective from March 3”.

Mr. Sangma later said the two MLAs came to support the NPP voluntarily. “They are not merging with the NPP and will remain as HSPDP members,” he added.

However, the protesting organisations led by the Hynniewtep Youth Council warned of drastic steps against the two MLAs if they fail to quit the NPP-led formation by March 6. They also threatened to lay siege to the houses of the duo and not allow them to take the oath.

NPP vice-president Prestone Tynsong slammed these organisations and said that they “appear to be wings of some political parties”.

While parts of Shillong protested the “betrayal” by the HSPDP duo, the NPP’s Timothy D. Shira was sworn in as the pro tem Speaker of the Meghalaya Assembly.

Unconfirmed reports said some Meghalaya MLAs, including the two of the HSPDP, have been escorted to the safety of an upscale hotel in Guwahati.

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