SHILLONG: In strategic move to bolster its chances in the upcoming Lok Sabha Polls, the ruling National People’s Party (NPP) is on the hunt for a fresh face to contest the Shillong seat.
Informing that, NPP leader and Deputy Chief Minister Sniawbhalang Dhar said that currently, the party is battling a problem of plenty in this regard. “Yes, we are looking for a new face. However, we are yet to decide on the selection of candidates. There are many aspirants, so we will see,” he told the press on Tuesday.
Touching upon the speculations of fielding former Mawsynram legislator, Himalaya Shangpliang, who recently jumped the ship to the NPP from Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), from the Shillong seat, Dhar said that Shangpliang fits the bill as he too has never contested the Lok Sabha polls and hence remains a “new face” for the Lower House.
Earlier in September, Shangpliang had resigned from the BJP citing concerns of undue favouritism among party leadership. Addressing these allegations, Ernest Mawrie, who was the chief of the state BJP at the time, had disclosed that Shangpliang’s departure was primarily triggered by the party’s decision not to field him as a candidate in the Lok Sabha elections.
Exuding confidence that the party’s vote share has seen a significant uptick in the 2023 assembly polls, Dhar said that the party is likely to announce the name of its Shillong candidate by the end of October.
“In terms of vote share percentage, we tower over other political parties. Our 3.15 lakh plus votes far outpace the United Democratic Party’s (UDP) 2.90 lakh, Congress’s 1.60 lakh, and Voice of the People Party’s (VPP) mere 1 lakh. And, with Shangpliang joining our ranks, we anticipate our vote bank to reach approximately 3.70 lakh,” he told the press.
Asserting the NPP’s ambitions, Dhar firmly declared the party’s intent to wrest the Shillong seat from its current holders, the Congress.
Turning the conversation towards the Tura parliamentary seat, Dhar reassured that the party remains committed to its sitting MP, Agatha Sangma, indicating her as their chosen candidate for the upcoming polls. Agatha, the youngest Minister of State in the second UPA government, is also the sister of Meghalaya Chief Minister Conrad Sangma.