Tura, Oct 27: The United Democratic Party (UDP) today decided to provide more autonomy to the Garo Hills section of the party.
The decision to do came during its Central Executive Committee (CEC) meeting at the village of Bangsi Apal in North Garo Hills.
The party meeting held today saw the presence of Meghalaya Speaker and president of the party, Dr Donkupar Roy, former MLA and working president, BM Lanong, general secretary, Jemino Mawthoh, ministers, Kyrmen Shylla, Metbah Lyngdoh, SK Sunn as well as Samuel M Sangma (MLA of Baghmara). Sangma has pledged his support to the UDP and was also welcomed to the party by the entire gathering.
Almost the entire leadership of the UDP – Garo Hills were present during the meeting today including former MLAs, BG Momin (president), EK Sangma and LC Momin. Party leadership from Garo Hills included general secretary – Garo Hills, Utzol Sangma, UDP youth wing president Anand Marak, working president Linden Momin among others. The meeting also saw the presence of the lone MDC from GHADC, Boston Marak.
The discussion mainly centered around the question of strengthening the party in the Garo Hills section where it is mostly seen as a Khasi Hills based party.
“We are called United Democratic Party and not Khasi Democratic Party. This party is meant for everyone in the state whatever community they may be from. This is the oldest regional party in the state and dates back to the state movement. In fact our first president was Capt Williamson Sangma. Many leaders like Mody K Marak and Dr Milton Sangma were also a part of this same party,” said new entrant in UDP, EK Sangma, who joined the party today.
In an effort to strengthen the party, the move to provide more autonomy was mooted so that the party functionaries could act independently in taking specific decisions to work at the grass root level. The decision is expected to be ratified in an executive committee meeting in the coming days.
The meeting today was crucial as there was speculation on whether the party would field a candidate for the Tura MP seat in the coming elections in 2019. With the UDP seeking a consensus candidate for the Shillong seat, the debate was a heated one with many wanting the party to contest while others wanted to wait and wait before taking the plunge.
While Dr Donkupar asked the party members in Garo Hills to work towards naming a candidate for the MP elections, general secretary Jemino wanted to wait until a decision was taken on the consensus candidate before anything was done.