Tura: Meghalaya chief minister Conrad Sangma, who won the Assembly bypolls to South Tura constituency in Meghalaya, has urged all political parties to work together for the development of the state.
Sangma, who is also the president of Natioal People's Party (NPP), won the polls by 8,421 votes on Monday. He secured a total of 13,656 votes, while his closest rival from Congress, Charlotte W Momin, polled 5,235 votes.
Sangma told the press, “I would like to thank all the people of South Tura for the support in the election, and to all our MDA (Meghalaya Democratic Alliance) partners. They have worked really hard and sacrificed a lot for me. It’s a good margin and I think people of South Tura have put a good amount of faith, not only in me but also in the government. We will do our best to ensure that we take our state forward. I want to reassure with this particular victory that our commitment is stronger now.”
“The voter turnout was a bit low. It was 73 percent, which was a part that I thought would be higher, like 80-85 percent. But keeping in mind the turnouts, the margin is high,” he said.
Sangma, who was elected chief minister in March, 2018, had to get elected to the Assembly to continue in office. His sister Agatha Sangma had resigned from South Tura in July to pave way for him to contest the election. Four candidates, including Conrad and Charlitte Momin had contested the by-polls from the South Tura seat, held on 23 August.
With this victory, Congress’s hope for a turn-around in its political fortune in the state has taken a beating. Both the Congress and the NPP have the same tally of 20 each in the 60-member assembly. Notably, when the Congress won 21 out of 59 seats in March, they laid stake to form the government in Meghalaya where the Governor invited the single largest party to form the government. However, after Congress president Mukul Sangma left the Ampati seat, its number was reduced to 20. NPP, with its 19 seats won in the Assembly polls, stitched together a coalition with four parties and an independent candidate to form the government.
Pointing out particularly at the Congress, Sangma said that his government will give ample heed to the opposition for any constructive advice that can take the state forward. He said that in a democracy, the voice of every single individual and every single party matters.
Speaking to Firstpost over the phone, Sangma said: “At this moment, I would like to appeal to all political parties, including our main opposition, Congress, that now that the election is over, we should all work together, and this is a democracy; therefore thoughts of all people matter. I would like to call upon all the political parties to work together to take the state forward.”
Drawing attention to the political stability of the coalition government, Sangma said it depends upon the understanding between the coalition partners and the work they do.
"It is important to respect and trust each other and to stick to commitments. The election went positively and I was quite confident that the coalition would be stable. There has been a good level of understanding among the coalition partners and I am sure that the government will complete its term," Conrad said.
The NPP leader said that besides commissioning development works in the state, his government's priority will be to check the illegal influx of people from the neighbouring countries.
“Illegal influx has always been an issue in the North East and so will it be in the future. Therefore, we strongly feel that a mechanism should be in place to check the influx. What kind of mechanisms should be put in place will be discussed in detail and we have been in consultation with political parties and other organisations to find a way forward. Though there are agreements and disagreements over what kind of measures should be taken, everyone agrees that there should an effective policy. It will be debated and all concerned organisations and political parties will be taken on board to arrive at a decision," the chief minister said.
Conrad also said that his government has been focusing on a good delivery mechanism at the grassroots level.
“We are focusing on good governance at the grassroots level through transparency and accountability and by ensuring that maximum output is generated from every penny spent,” he said.
Sangma also added that being an MLA from South Tura and being the chief minister of the state are two different responsibilities in a way. He said, being an MLA, his primary task will be the development of infrastructure in Tura town.
"I have to ensure that the policies are correct and we carry forward what we have started now,” the chief minister said.
“Tura town, as I have mentioned during the election time, requires a lot of infrastructure development like drinking water facilities, good roads, garbage disposal system, street lights and several other things. We will focus on making Tura a proper town with all basic amenities available for people,” Sangma said.
The NPP is heading the Meghalaya Democratic Alliance (MDA) government.
The author is Guwahati-based freelance writer and a member of 101reporters.com.
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Updated Date: Aug 29, 2018 14:38:57 IST