Congress confident of retaining power in Meghalaya

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Shillong, Jan 14 (UNI) Despite its polls debacle in Himachal Pradesh and Gujarat, the Congress today expressed confidence to retain power in Meghalaya, with Election Commission setting March 3 as the polling date for the state.

AICC General Secretary in-charge, Meghalaya, Major (Retd) Ved Prakash, who arrived here to galavanise the party ahead of the polls, said the Congress will retain power on the basis of its achievements during the past five years.

About the controversy surrounding the handing over of six power projects to private companies, Maj Prakash said the party would not be affected due to the agreement reached between the state government and private companies.

He, however, hoped that the Cabinet sitting on January 17 would arrive at some consensus on this contentious issue.

''The Cabinet would respect the wish of the people and that's all I hope,'' the senior AICC leader said amidst protest directed largely at Chief Minister D D Lapang and his deputy Dr Mukul M Sangma for being instrumental in signing the deal.

The Congress allies have openly criticised the agreement reached between the state and private companies. The United Democratic Party (UDP) - an ally of the Congress - would take out a protest march tomorrow supporting the FKJGP's six-hour-long hunger strike against the government's decision.

Other political allies like Khun Hynniewtrep National Awakening Movement have also opposed the cabinet decision for striking the deal hastily.

Joining the hands of Congress' allies, the opposition parties -- the Nationalist Congress Party and Bharatiya Janata Party, including Independent legislators, have demanded scraping of the deal. The BJP and two independent legislators have demanded that the government come out with a ''white paper'' on the power project.

The Cabinet approved Joint Ventures with -- Jaypee Group, Dharampal Satyapal Group, ETA Star infrastructure Limited, Athena Project Private Limited, Seven Sisters Energy Limited and SEW Energy Limited -- to develop Kynshi Stage-I,Kynshi Stage-II, Umngot, Leshka Stage-II, Umiew and Simsang Basin projects.

''We would be going from door to door in the state with our party workers and explain the party's position on all matters and dispel misinformation as being spread by other political parties,'' Maj.

Prakash said.

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