Megh minister brands regional ally as "vested interest"

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Shillong, Jan 3 (UNI) With Assembly elections in Meghalaya round the corner, mudslinging has already started with the Meghalaya Democratic Party (MDP) today branding the United Democratic Party (UDP) as a party with ''vested interest''.

A day after the United Democratic Party (UDP) appealed to the regional parties to unite for the coming Assembly elections, MDP President and Minister in-charge of Forest and Environment Martle Mukhim called the UDP a party of ''vested interest,'' while distancing itself from any pre-poll alliance.

'' The UDP is pretentious. Although they champion the cause of the indigenous people but it is all for their own personal gain,'' Mr Mukhim added.

Yesterday, UDP president and deputy Chief Minister Donkupar Roy appealed to the regional parties during a rally that the MDP must come together to defeat the Congress and NCP in the elections.

'' The national parties would have a tough time if the regional parties come together and contest unitedly,'' Dr Roy said. He added that with sitting MDP legislators DP Ianjuh and PT Sawkmie returning to the UDP fold the party had been strengthened further.

The MDP is an offshoot of the UDP and was formed after splitting in 2003. Ever since Roy and Mukhim have pursued different agendas although both are Ministers in the ruling Congress-led MDA coalition government.

Dr Roy had been trying hard to reunite the party for the past several years. An umbrella political organistion of all regional parties was formed some years back known as the Regional Party's Alliance (RPA).

'' There is no question of merging the MDP with the UDP. It was this same party that refused to join the RPA, so now again this rhetoric of merger does not hold much ground,'' Mr Mukhim said.

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