Rymbai quits Congress due to "infighting"

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Shillong, Jan 11 (UNI) Former Meghalaya Chief Minister J D Rymbai today formally joined the United Democratic Party (UDP) after quitting the Congress, due to ''continued infighting'', which he said, had ''hurt his conscience.'' '' My inner voice asked me to quit the Congress Party as the party lost its objective to take the state towards development, '' Mr Rymbai said after joining the UDP, at its party President, Donkupar Roy's residence.

Mr Rymbai, who was forced to relinquish his Chief Ministerial chair in favour of his bete noire D D Lapang, had been an active Congress member for 24 years and MLA for four terms.

Not just Mr Rymbai, P T Sawkmie and D P Iangjuh of the Meghalaya Democratic Party (MDP) also formally joined the UDP today.

Mr Rymbai said he had ''no regrets'' of quitting the Congress but rather glad to be with a regional party. '' I was a member of the All Party Hills Leaders' Conference (APHLC) party that fought for statehood and people's right. And I am glad the UDP stands for similar ideals, '' the former Congress leader said.

Recalling his unceremonious removal by the Congress High Command from the Chief Ministerial chair in 2007, Mr Rymbai revealed that the he was given support by the regional allies of the Congress to continue, but he decided against it and gave up the chair in the larger interest of the Congress-led MDA government.

'' I could have continued but I decided otherwise. I thought it was not in the interest of the government, '' the soft-spoken Legislator from Jirang constituency said.

On the other hand, Mr Sawkmie on his return to the UDP said he was returning to the UDP after a gap of six years, realising that his exit together with others from the party had weakened regional aspirations.

'' The Congress has failed to develop the state despite being in power for the past 30 years. It has failed to provide good governance in the state and live up to people's aspirations, '' he stated.

UDP president Donkupar Roy while welcoming Rymbai, Sawkmie and Iangjuh in absentia said it would strengthen the party and hoped of wresting 34 seats out of the 60 in the coming Assembly elections.

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