Former legislator John Leslee K. Sangma has emerged as the challenger to Meghalaya chief minister Conrad K. Sangma’s bid to enter the Assembly from South Tura.
Sangma, who was elected in 2013, was defeated by former Union minister Agatha K. Sangma in the February polls.
Sangma has tendered his resignation as a member of the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), which is an ally of the Meghalaya Democratic Alliance led by the National People’s Party (NPP).
Speaking over phone, Sangma said he would contest the upcoming bypoll from South Tura either as an Independent or a nominee of some other political party. “I have decided to contest the elections since my people have asked me to step in, but I am yet to make up my mind whether to contest as an Independent or as a candidate of political parties,” Sangma said.
He also said the current state of affairs, especially issues relating to the state reservation policy and the chief minister’s remark that he was in favour of granting work permits to Bangladeshi nationals, worried him.
Sangma was referring to a debate in the Assembly in April where the government had stated that reservation of seats for students pursuing studies in technical lines has been implemented in Meghalaya by way of extending the job reservation policy of 1972, though in reality the job policy was quiet about academic quota.
Conrad had admitted that though the job reservation policy did not mention reservation in higher studies, the job reservation policy has been extended to acacademic quota based on prevailing practice.
“This (reservation policy for students) is a serious issue, which has to be sorted out. We have to very careful so that our students do not suffer,” Sangma said. He was also vocal against the chief minister’s proposal to grant work permits to Bangladeshi nationals.