Meghalaya Chief Minister Mukul Sangma on Wednesday vowed that the Congress party would ensure the defeat of deserters in next year's assembly election."We have collected inputs about them. Electoral battle is not a battle which is so easy, so simple. I have always referred to these MLAs who deserted the party as turncoats. They have left the party because they have an agenda which is self-centric," he told journalists after reviewing the Congress preparedness for the assembly polls.Congress General Secretary in charge of Meghalaya, C.P. Joshi and senior Congress leaders from the state were present at the meeting.At least five sitting Congress legislators - Rowell Lyngdoh, Prestone Tynsong, P.N. Syiem, Sniawbhalang Dhar and Ngaitlang Dhar - did not apply for the Congress ticket. Apart from Syiem, who is believed to have floated a new political outfit, the People's Democratic Front, the others are hobnobbing with the opposition National People's Party.
However, Sangma said that the Congress had already nurtured alternative candidates who are strong to contest against these "turncoats" in the upcoming 2018 assembly elections."There have been situations in the past where the party has denied tickets to sitting MLAs. It is not necessary that the party will give ticket only to the sitting MLAs. In any constituency where we feel that is not indicative of the sitting MLA then the party will decide otherwise," the Chief Minister said.Echoing Sangma, Congress leader in-charge of Meghalaya, C.P. Joshi described the desertion of the Congress legislators to join other political parties as "not a new trend"."It is nothing new since this kind of thing takes place in every election where MLAs who have personal ambition decide to change sides. Even in the past, there are MLAs who left the party before the elections," Joshi said.Joshi also voiced confidence that his party would retain power in Meghalaya after the 2018 elections.