Sangma returns to Meghalaya politics

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Guwahati, Oct 4 (UNI) Former Lok Sabha Speaker and NCP leader P A Sangma today said he would be the chief ministerial candidate of the NCP in next year's assembly polls in Meghalaya.

''I would be contesting the coming 2008 Meghalaya polls from Tura seat and the party has projected me as the Chief Ministerial candidate,'' said Mr Sangma addressing a news conference here.

''It is the decision of the Nationalist Congress Party's high command. As there is leadership crisis in the party in Meghalaya, the party has asked me to come back to state politics,'' said Mr Sangma, once the tallest leader of the North east.

He shuttled between the NCP and the Trinamool Congress for some time last year and finally decided to revive his sagging political career through Meghalaya which have been witnessing change of chief ministers for the past one decade.

The former Lok Sabha Speaker said the party would go alone for assembly polls in all the three states of Meghalaya, Nagaland and Tripura.

''The party has decided to contest in 55 seats out of 60 in Meghalaya, and 20 each in Nagaland and Tripura out of total 60 seats each,'' he said.

Party Chief and Union Agricultural Minister Sharad Pawar will be visiting Assam on October 11 to assess the damage after the recent floods in the state.

Mr Pawar would attend central working committee (CWC) meet of the party at Shillong and discuss the draft of the election manifesto for the three states, he said.

''The CWC meeting of the party is important as the draft manifesto would be presented to the central committee who would in turn finalise the manifesto,'' he said, adding president of the Assam Unit of the NCP Dhiren Adhikari was appointed the party's chief election observer for the three states.

On the party's prospect, Sangma said it had become good even in Khasi Hills and Jaintia Hills. ''Leave aside Garo Hills, we are doing better in Khasi Hills and Jaintia Hills. Most of the intellectuals of Khasi and Jaintia Hills have come out to support us,'' he said and added that the NCP could bring in the much-needed change in the Meghalaya politics.

''The constant change of chief ministers in Meghalaya has taken a toll on the state politics. Change is required and I feel NCP could give the needed break to Meghalaya politics,'' he added.

UNI

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