Five Congress legislators may contest as independents

Last Updated: Tue, Jan 08, 2013 06:40 hrs

Shillong, Jan 8 (IANS) Five Congress legislators, denied ticket for the coming Meghalaya polls, Tuesday hinted at contesting as independents.

But the state Congress leadership wants them to support the official candidates.

The Congress, which has 28 members in the 60-member assembly, has declined to again field S.W. Rymbai, Adbus Saleh, Samuel Sangma, Nehlang Lyngdoh and Saleng Sangma.

"I was shocked when militants planted explosives and threw a grenade at my house. Now it is another shock when the party has denied me a ticket," Sangma said.

The Congress has favoured Besterfield N. Sangma as its nominee from Gambegre constituency instead of Saleng.

"I'm still the winning candidate from Gambegre but I don't know the reason I lost the ticket. I will discuss with the people in my constituency and decide whether to contest," he said.

On the other hand, Stanly Wiss Rymbai said "money has played a role in finalising the list" in Umroi constituency which he represented for two consecutive terms.

Rymbai lost to the ticket to businessman Ngaitlang Dhar.

"I have decided to contest as an independent. I have won two elections because people voted for me and not because of Congress," he said.

Two-time legislator Samuel Sangma, who was overlooked for Baghmara constituency, has also decided to enter the fray as an independent.

The party selected Lazarus M. Sangma instead of Samuel.

"I don't understand what the Congress is doing but I'm going ahead to contest from Baghmara as my supporters have asked me not to surrender," he said.

The other two legislators, who have been denied nomination, are Abdus Saleh from Rajabala constituency and Nehlang Lyngdoh from Khliehriat.

Saleh lost the race to Sayeedullah Nongrum in Rajabala while the party has selected Amos Dkhar from Khliehriat.

Independent legislator Ismail R. Marak, who is also a Congress associate member, was denied the ticket from Dadenggre constituency.

In his place, the party picked Garo Hills Autonomous District Council chief Purno K. Sangma.

Senior Congress legislators said they would try to convince the ticket losers to support official candidates instead of throwing their hat in the electoral battle.

"The party wants to gain more seats in Meghalaya and therefore tickets have been issued to candidates who have a better chance of winning," said Meghalaya Congress chief D.D. Lapang.

"We want them (those denied ticket) not to contest. But we cannot force them," he said.

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