In a huge setback to Congress in Meghalaya, 12 MLAs, including former chief minister Mukul Sangma, joined the Trinamool Congress (TMC).
Former Meghalaya Congress chief minister Mukul Sangma on Thursday said that 12 Congress MLAs have taken "conscious decision" to join the Trinamool Congress, reported news agency ANI.
"We have taken a decision to merge with the Trinamool Congress," Former Meghalaya CM Mukul Sangma said on Thursday.
"A complete sense of commitment towards serving the people has brought us to take this decision. In 2018 Assembly elections, we were confident of forming govt but we could not. Again, post-poll there were activities to poach our members...," he was quoted as saying by news agency ANI.
"This group of 17 we have, collectively demonstrated our commitment...the commitment towards the state has superseded everything else...we are failing in our duty as far as the role of the opposition is concerned," he added.
Former Meghalaya CM Mukul Sangma slammed Congress and said that the party has failed to play the role of the main opposition party in the country.
"Congress has failed to play the role of the main opposition party in the country," he said.
Notably, Congress General Secretary KC Venugopal on November 18 held a meeting at AICC headquarters in New Delhi, which was attended by party's Meghalaya in-charge Manish Chatrath to evaluate to party's performance in the recently concluded by-polls in Meghalaya.
The meeting was also joined by other party leaders of the state including MPCC President Vincent H Pala, CLP leader Mukul Sangma, MPCC working president M Arnpareen Lyngdoh, Secretary AICC in-charge Manipur Charles Pyngrope, MPCC working presidents Marthon Sangma and James Lyngdoh.
Meghalaya's ruling party, the National People's Party (NPP) won Rajabala, Mawryngkneng Assembly seats while the United Democratic Party (UDP) bagged Mawphlang Assembly seat in the bypolls which took place on October 30.
TMC has witnessed a steady stream of leaders joining its ranks after quitting from Congress in the last few months.
In September, former Goa chief minister Luizinho Faleiro joined TMC after resigning from the primary membership of Congress. Following Faleiro shift, nine other leaders from Congress also joined TMC, sources had informed.
Congress MP from Assam's Silchar and ex-president of All India Mahila Congress, Sushmita Dev had joined the TMC in August this year. She has been assigned to look after TMC's affairs in Tripura.
Moreover, Luizinho Faleiro and Sushmita Dev both were awarded Rajya Sabha seats after joining TMC.
Ahead of the 2022 Goa assembly polls, North Goa Congress Seva Dal Chief Ulhas Vaskar and Shiv Sena Block President (Ponda) Vinod Borkar joined the TMC on October 21.
Congress leader Kirti Azad and former Haryana Congress president Ashok Tanwar also recently joined TMC. Tanwar was once a close aide of Rahul Gandhi.
Two senior Congress leaders of Uttar Pradesh had joined TMC in October including Rajeshpati Tripathi and Lalitpati Tripathi.
Rajeshpati is an ex-MLC and Laliteshpati is former Uttar Pradesh Congress vice-president and an ex-MLA. Rajeshpati and Laliteshpati are the grandson and the great-grandson of former Uttar Pradesh chief minister Kamalapati Tripathi, respectively.
Banerjee had visited Delhi in July this year. It was her first visit after Trinamool Congress returned to power in the Bengal Assembly polls. During her visit, he had met Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi amongst other leaders.
(Wiht inputs from ANI)