Shillong, Jan 20: On one hand, the United Democratic Party (UDP) is ecstatic with the joining of 5 sitting MLAs, boosting the regional party’s chances of winning more seats and increasing its current tally of 8 seats in the 60-member house in 2023 assembly polls. On the other, it is battling a massive internal battle over ticket allotment and senior leaders sidelined.
This could be the worse start UDP could have hoped even before the electioneering process for the upcoming polls really got rolling. With senior partyman Bindo M Lanong, a former deputy Chief Minister of the State, leading the faction of senior leaders in the party declaring war on the party’s ‘younger brigade’, the party has been put in a quandary.
“Two or three leaders who are involved in the allotment of tickets scam of the UDP are already finished, they have no chance of winning,” says an upset Lanong, who tries to make a case for himself by assuring that he has ‘very good chance’ of winning since he has been working and met with people at the grassroot.
Although Lanong has not floated a new party yet and declared that he doesn’t want to do so, the fact that he will contest as an independent under the insignia of UDP-O (UDP Original) is a telltale. And he is out for vengeance!
The former Speaker of the Legislative Assembly and former CEM of the KHADC, Lanong knows his way around the politics and over 40 years of experience has made him a force to reckon with. He passionately says “UDP is my baby, I was there when it was born”, and his anger is obvious being a founding member of the party.
“When UDP is formed they were not there… they are not in politics also… all of them are my juniors. I brought Jemino in 2013 and he won, Metbah Lyngdoh joined UDP in 2008… where were they when UDP was formed in 1997. Paul Lyngdoh came in 2009, so I have already told you… 2-3 leaders are already finished… people will give them the right treatment,” he vents.
An enraged Lanong will not only ruin UDP’s chances in whichever constituencies it is fielding candidates, it will also divide the voters, for they would be confused on which is the ‘authentic’ UDP. Such an existential crisis is a double whammy for the party, which has punctured a hole in UDP’s dream of getting an absolute majority or leading the government.
Not just that, this division will likely continue after the elections and run deep, which could very well lead to two UDPs and completely ruin the party.
Not getting its house in order will cost the party dearly.