NCP, UDP put joint LS candidates

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Shillong, Jun 17 (UNI) The Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) and United Democratic Party (UDP) today decided to put up a common candidate for the Shillong and Tura Lok Sabha seats in the 2009 Parliamentary elections.

'' We are discussing with the UDP for finding a consensus candidate for the Shillong seat for the coming 2009 Lok Sabha elections,'' NCP general secretary Purno A Sangma told reporters here.

With its 15 Legislators, the NCP is supporting a non-Congress UDP-led Meghalaya Progressive Alliance government.

The MPA is supported by the Hill State People's Democratic Party (2), Khun Hynniewtrep National Awakening Movement and Bharatiya Janata Party (one each), besides three Independent Legislators.

MPA sources had already indicated that an agreement might be arrived at soon for a consensus candidate from the UDP to contest the Shillong Lok Sabha seat as the NCP would contest the Tura seat, represented currently by Mr Sangma's daughter Agatha K Sangma.

Agatha, who successfully contested the Tura Parliamentary byelection, was supported by the UDP. In turn, the NCP would support a UDP candidate to contest the Shillong Lok Sabha seat.

Union Tribal Affairs Minister and senior Congress leader P R Kyndiah was representing the Shillong seat at present. Mr Kyndiah had already expressed the desire to contest the seat again.

Meanwhile, the NCP had formed a committee to review its failure to make a dent in the Khasi and Jaintia Hills districts.

'' We have discussed in details the party's failure to do well in the Khasi and Jaintia Hills, '' NCP State Secretary and Deputy Chief Minister Timothy D Shira told reporters after the party's executive meeting.

According to the NCP leaders, most of the members felt that the NCP's inability to perform well in the Khasi and Jaintia Hills was because it was perceived as a Garo Hills-based party.

'' There are rumours spread by rivals that neither the NCP is a national party nor a regional party, but a Garo party. We didn't counter that effectively, '' Mr Shira said.

However, as far as vote share was concerned the NCP was satisfied with the number of votes that it got in the 2008 Assembly election.

Mr Shira said the party had got 43,000 votes in 2003, but in 2008 its votes share was doubled to 87,000 votes.

'' We are happy that the NCP has increased its votes share in the Khasi and Jaintia Hills in this election. But, the party candidates must work hard in the District Council and parliamentary elections in 2009,'' he said.

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