The Congress in poll-bound Meghalaya suffered a setback after 115 members of the party from two constituencies of the state resigned over allotment of election tickets.
While 100 party members of Chokpot assembly seat in South Garo Hills district put in their papers yesterday in protest against Lazarus Sangam’s nomination, another 15 Congress members from Jirang seat in Ri Bhoi district quit over ticket allocation to Witness Syngkli, party sources said.
The members of the Block Congress Committee of Chokpot constituency, Jirang Mahila Congress and Ri Bhoi District Youth Congress Committee were among those who put in their papers.
Meghalaya is set to go to polls on February 27 and the results will be announced on March 3.
The tenure of the current 60-member assembly ends on March 6.
Bluebell Marak, the party MLA who had won the Chokpot seat in a bypoll in 2015, said: “I have tried to contact my party leaders over the matter, but I am yet to receive any feedback.”
Defending the move, a state Congress leader said on the condition of anonymity that Lazarus has a better mass appeal in Chokpot constituency.
Lazarus had unsuccessfully contested the 2013 elections from Baghmara constituency in the district.
“The decision of the AICC and the MPCC to allot ticket to an outsider is wrong. A local candidate understands local problems better. Therefore, we have decided to quit the party and support our candidate (Marak) who has a better chance of winning,” Block Congress adviser L Ch Sangma wrote in his resignation letter.
In Ri-Bhoi, district committee head Rajesh Lapang and vice-president of the Youth Congress unit Sunmonn D Marak along with a few other leaders have also announced their decision to back Badhok Nongmalieh, instead of Syngkli, from Jirang constituency.
Downplaying the resignation, Congress working president Vincent H Pala said, “We cannot satisfy everybody. It happens during every elections when disgruntled members leave the party, but they are welcome to the family again.”
The Congress here had faced a major jolt last month, when five of its MLAs resigned from the Assembly and joined the NPP and two other legislators moved to the BJP and the newly formed People’s Democratic Front.
In the first list, the Congress has released the names of 56 candidates.
Among the contenders are Congress state president C Lyngdoh, Chief Minister Mukul Sangma, his wife and sitting legislator D D Shira, his cabinet colleague and brother Zenith Sangma and his wife Sadiarani M Sangma.