MPCC Chief Vincent Pala take responsibility for Congress defeat in by-polls

Pala said that it was very unfortunate that rebels from within the party were a contributing factor to the failure of the Congress in all three seats - Mawryngkneng, Mawphlang, and Rajabala.



Meghalaya Pradesh Congress Committee (MPCC) chief Vincent H Pala has taken full responsibility for Congress's defeat in the recent Assembly bye-polls.

Attributing the poll debacle to rebel leaders who left the party just ahead of the polls, Pala said, “I could not prevent rebel candidates. I take full responsibility for all the failures and the defeat,” said Pala on November 15.

Pala also added that it was very unfortunate that rebels from within the party were a contributing factor to the failure of the Congress in all three seats - Mawryngkneng, Mawphlang, and Rajabala.

“Our own Members of District Council (MDCs), one each from Garo Hills and Khasi Hills, and our own office-bearers contested as rebel candidates. Had they not contested, we would have won the elections,” he informed.

He also claimed that the Congress’ vote share increased in all the three constituencies compared to the National People’s Party (NPP) and the United Democratic Party (UDP) adding, “This shows that the people of the state are with the Congress, but unfortunately, I just joined on September 18, and the election was declared on September 28, I could not prevent rebel candidates from leaving the party.”

On the other hand, the Congress chief said the ruling party will always have an edge in any bye-polls. “When we were in power, we also won many bye-elections. The trend is the same all over India because people still expect to get something from the ruling party for their villages and areas; people expect maybe there are lots of schemes pending and all which the present government had promised them and it is half done and if candidates win, they can manage to clear all those. So normally that is the perception of the voters,” he said.

Brushing off rumours that infighting within the Congress had led to the poll debacle, Pala said, “It is not infighting within the party, but people who defected from the Congress. For example, a senior member and MDC Lamphrang Blah defected and fought the election from Mawphlang, another MDC from Garo Hills. Ashahel D Shira, also came out to fight from Rajabala and senior secretary of the block (Norbert Marboh) left to try his luck…this is not infighting.”

The Shillong MP further accused the ruling NPP of misusing its power during the by-polls.

“If they (ruling party) cannot do anything to divide the Congress, I am sorry to say maybe compensate them (Congress rebel candidates) to fight the elections. Therefore, we would have won if our own people would not have fought against us,” he said.

Slamming the government for also misusing its power in the Rajabala bye-polls, Pala said, “They (Govt) have arrested almost 170 of the Congress workers, they have harassed them, beaten them and put them in jail, so normally the village people will be scared and they did not go to the other side. Apart from that, the people in the constituency are very poor compared to other constituencies. When they throw money, they are easily convinced.”

Meanwhile, the MPCC chief expressed confidence that Congress will come back to power in 2023.

“I have no doubt that we will be able to secure an absolute majority this time because as of now, people of the state are fed up with the present state government,” he said.

“Forget about corruption, look at the price rise, the power is centralised on a few ministers and leaders of the party, I don’t think they have done much for the last five years,” he added.

Pala also maintained that though the Congress had lost the election it had not lost the spirit to fight.

Pala further informed that he would be touring the Garo Hills region from January 17 to 23 as part of preparations for the Assembly polls.

It may be recalled that the Congress had witnessed a major setback when it lost the Mawryngkneng and Rajabala seats to the ruling National People’s Party and Mawphlang to the United Democratic Party in the recently held by-elections.

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