In a recent turnaround, the opposition party in Meghalaya has suffered a setback, after the members of Ranikor Block Congress in South West Khasi Hills district resigned en-masse and joined the ruling National People’s Party (NPP)
Senior Congress leader Martin M Danggo, who had won for five consecutive terms from Ranikor Assembly constituency, is also expected to quit as a member of the assembly as well as from the primary membership of Congress once the government announces the creation of Ranikor Sub-division. Ranikor, which is 121km from the state capital Shillong, shares border with Bangladesh.
The resignations came in the wake of the refusal of the previous Congress government headed by Mukul Sangma, now the Leader of Opposition, to the local demand to upgrade the Ranikor Community and Rural Development Block to a sub-division.
Danggo’s resignation will reduce the Congress’s strength in the Meghalaya Assembly to 20, equal to that of the NPP, which is running a coalition government in the north-eastern state with the BJP and some regional parties.
“I have raised the matter on the need to upgrade Ranikor to a sub-division with several (former) Chief Ministers DD Lapang and Mukul Sangma but they never realised the need of development of this region,” Danggo said.
Chief Minister Conrad Sangma reacted, “This is a genuine and a longstanding demand (creation of Ranikor Sub-Division) of the people of this region. This region too needs development and the NPP-led government wants to bring the administration more closely to the people.”
Danggo expressed happiness with the announcement by the Chief Minister to upgrade Ranikor administrative unit to a sub-division. “I will resign as a member of the Congress and the assembly once the Chief Minister declares that Ranikor is being upgraded to a sub-division.”
Danggo, a former Public Works Department minister has been in touch with the NPP leadership and had expressed his desire to join NPP even before going to the Assembly polls. The NPP at present has 20 MLAs, while the opposition Congress has 21 MLAs in the 60-member Assembly.
The NPP is leading the coalition Meghalaya Democratic Alliance (MDA) government in the state with the support of UDP, PDF, BJP, HSPDP, NCP and few independents.