Former Meghalaya Chief Minister Mukul Sangma on Thursday said that he, along with 11 Congress MLAs, has taken a “conscious decision to march with the Trinamool Congress”, after days of disappointment over party colleague Vincent Pala being made state Congress chief.
“A complete sense of commitment towards serving the people has brought us to take this decision. In 2018 Assembly elections, we were confident of forming govt but we could not. Again, post-poll there were activities to poach our members,” Sangma told the media.
The former CM further said, “This group of 17 has collectively demonstrated our commitment. The commitment towards the state has superseded everything else.”
Before the decision to switch over, Sangma had gone to Kolkata, where he met Prashant Kishor. However, he had termed that trip as a “courtesy visit”. During Thursday’s press conference, he also talked about the Trinamool’s election strategist. “I am very happy to disclose that when we interacted, I felt that we share the same objective,” the former CM said about Kishor.
Of the 12 Congress legislators who joined the TMC late on Wednesday, eight MLAs are from Garo Hills and four are from the Khasi Jaintia hills. With the latest political development, the Trinamool Congress has become the main opposition party in the Meghalaya House despite not winning any seat in 2018 elections to the 60-member Assembly.
Sangma reportedly had also met Trinamool’s national general secretary Abhishek Banerjee in Kolkata last month, triggering speculation amid a reported rift within the Congress in the Northeastern state.
Taking a dig at Rahul Gandhi over 12 Meghalaya Congress MLAs joining the Trinamool Congress, the BJP on Thursday said that it was unfair to blame him for the defection as ‘age is still on his side’.
Co-incharge West Bengal BJP, Amit Malviya said that he (Rahul Gandhi) didn’t ask the MLAs to leave. “It is unfair to blame Rahul Gandhi for the defection in Meghalaya. He didn’t ask them to go. They just decided to leave. And what is the hullabaloo about? The next Assembly election is in 2023. The 12 legislators continue to sit in the opposition. Rahul still has age on his side,” Malviya, also in-charge of the BJP’s national information and technology department, tweeted.