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Meghalaya Congress MLA quits, set to join ruling National People’s Party

Martin M Danggo said he was switching sides because CM Conrad Sangma has promised civil subdivision status for Ranikor. With this, the Congress has lost the single-largest party status in the state assembly.

india Updated: Jun 23, 2018 09:44 IST
David Laitphlang
David Laitphlang
Hindustan Times, Shillong
Meghalaya Congress,Resignation,National People’s Party
Former MLA Martin M Danggo (right) seen handing over a memorandum seeking civil subdivision status for Ranikor to chief minister Conrad Sangma in this photograph dated May 25, 2018 .(HT Photo)

Senior politician Martin M Danggo resigned from the primary membership of the Congress on Friday, a day after he quit as a member of the Meghalaya legislative assembly.

Danggo, who was elected five times from the Ranikor assembly constituency in the South West Khasi Hills district, had tendered an emotional resignation letter to the Congress state leadership on Thursday night.

“As per the desire of my people, I have tendered the resignation of my seat in the assembly from Ranikor,” he said in a missive sent to Meghalaya Pradesh Congress Committee (MPCC) president Celestine Lyngdoh on Friday. “Therefore, with deep sorrow and regret in my heart, I am also resigning from the primary membership of the Indian National Congress along with all the positions I have held in the party till today, with effect from June 21.”

Thanking the All India Congress Committee, MPCC as well as the district Congress committee of the South West Khasi Hills for “showering blessings” on him during his long stint as a Congressman, Danggo said: “I will definitely cherish all the fond memories, love and family spirit during my long association with the Congress. Forgive me for hurting you by my sudden decision… I will miss you all.”

Danggo tendered his resignation to Meghalaya assembly deputy speaker Timothy D Shira in the absence of speaker Donkupar Roy late on Thursday night. He will join the National People’s Party (NPP), which is leading the six-party Meghalaya Democratic Alliance government.

Danggo had announced his decision to switch sides during a public meeting attended by chief minister Conrad Sangma in his constituency on June 12. He said he was doing so because the chief minister has promised civil subdivision status for Ranikor – a long-pending demand of its residents.

With this sudden turn in events, the NPP and the opposition Congress now have 20 seats each in the house of 60. The ruling MDA comprises 20 MLAs of the NPP, six of the United Democratic Party, four of the newly-formed People’s Democratic Front, and two each of the BJP and the Hill State People’s Democratic Party. The government is also supported by two Independents and an MLA of the Nationalist Congress Party.

The Congress was the single-largest party in the state assembly until Danggo’s resignation.

First Published: Jun 23, 2018 09:36 IST