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Meghalaya: 12 of 17 Congress MLAs join TMC

New Delhi: Former Meghalaya Chief Minister Mukul Sangma, along with 11 of the 17 Congress MLAs in the state, joined the Trinamool Congress in a huge coup for West Bengal’s ruling party in the northeast. Informing the change of the status, the Meghalaya MLAs submitted a letter to the assembly Speaker Metbah Lyngdoh around 10 pm on Wednesday.

The development, which makes the Trinamool Congress the principal opposition party in the state, came a day after Congress leaders Kirti Azad and Ashok Tanwar as well as Pawan Varma, formerly of Janata Dal (United), joined the Trinamool Congress in Delhi in the presence of party chief Mamata Banerjee currently visiting the national capital.

Hours earlier, Mamata said her party would welcome political leaders from other parties who wished to join the Trinamool Congress’s battle against the BJP.

The 12 Congress MLAs who have jumped ship will address a press meet in Meghalaya’s capital Shillong on November 25.

Ms Banerjee, known to share a cordial relationship with Congress chief Sonia Gandhi, has not met her this time, although there was a buzz about a meeting.

Asked about the matter, the Trinamool Congress chief flared up. She had sought no appointment with Sonia Gandhi, as “they are busy with Punjab polls”, Ms Banerjee said.

Then she pointedly added, “Why should we meet Sonia every time? It is not constitutionally mandated.”

The earlier Congress entrants in the party included late President Pranab Mukherjee’s son Abhijit Mukherjee; Sushmita Dev, the former Congress MP from Silchar and daughter of late Congress stalwart Santosh Mohan Dev.

The development, which makes the Trinamool Congress the principal opposition party in the state, came a day after Congress leaders Kirti Azad and Ashok Tanwar as well as Pawan Varma, formerly of Janata Dal (United), joined the Trinamool Congress in Delhi in the presence of party chief Mamata Banerjee currently visiting the national capital.

In Delhi today, Ms Banerjee, whose massive victory in the April-May assembly elections in West Bengal had set off a buzz about her spearheading the opposition challenge to the BJP in the 2024 general elections, said she was willing to help oust the BJP in Uttar Pradesh.

Mamata also said she would visit Varanasi – Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Lok Sabha constituency – and the big opposition hub of Mumbai to meet Nationalist Congress Party chief Sharad Pawar and Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray on December 1.

According to PTI, The Meghalaya Trinamool Congress was formally launched in 2012 with an intention to contest from 35 of the state’s 60 seats. Team members of election strategist Prashant Kishor are in Shillong to weigh in on the Trinamool Congress’s options in the state for the 2023 assembly elections.

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