In poll season, turncoats on the rise in Meghalaya, Tripura

After six legislators in Tripura switched parties, at least five in Meghalaya are on the verge of donning new party colours

November 12, 2022 02:33 pm | Updated 05:05 pm IST - GUWAHATI:

An election official checks an Electronic Voting Machines (EVM) in Agartale. File photo

An election official checks an Electronic Voting Machines (EVM) in Agartale. File photo | Photo Credit: Ritu Raj Konwar

After some of their counterparts in Tripura, at least five MLAs are likely to change party colours in Meghalaya.

Along with Nagaland, these two north-eastern States are headed for Assembly polls by February-March 2023.

Unlike Tripura, where the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party and its ally Indigenous People’s Front of Tripura (IPFT) have lost their MLAs to the Tipraha Indigenous Progressive Regional Alliance or Tipra Motha and Congress, the constituents of the Meghalaya Democratic Alliance (MDA) government are targeting each other.

The MDA is headed by Chief Minister Conrad K. Sangma’s National People’s Party (NPP).

The Hill State People’s Democratic Party (HSPDP), one of the constituents of MDA, has virtually accepted that its two MLAs are quitting. One of these legislators, Public Health Engineering Minister Renikton Lyngdoh Tongkhar is tipped to join the regional United Democratic Party, another NDA constituent.

“Tongkhar will not be contesting on the HSPDP ticket,” the party’s general secretary Panbor Ryntathiang said, adding an explanation has been sought from the other MLA, Samlin Malngiang regarding reports on his plan to join the NPP.

Both MLAs are said to have cut off links with the HSPDP.

Gains to BJP

The BJP, also a part of the MDA, is upbeat about at least three MLAs – two from NPP and one from Trinamool Congress – donning saffron colours by December. “There is every likelihood of two more MLAs joining us in the coming days,” State BJP president Ernest Mawrie said.

On November 9, Mevar Kumar Jamatia became the third IPFT legislator to resign from the Assembly and join the Tipra Motha headed by the Tripura’s royal scion, Pradyot Bikram Manikya Debbarma. The other two are Dhananjoy Tripura and Brishaketu Debbarma.

Advantage Congress

The Tripura unit of BJP also lost an MLA, Burbo Mohan Tripura to the Tipra Motha while BJP legislators Sudip Roy Barman and Asish Saha joined the Congress. Another BJP legislator, Asish Kumar Das was disqualified for “gross misconduct”.

The defections have not posed any threat to the BJP-IPFT alliance, which has 37 legislators in the 60-member Tripura Assembly.

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