Meghalaya Chief Minister Conrad K Sangma justified denying an Assembly poll ticket to sitting Phulbari MLA S G Esmatur Mominin and replacing him with former MLA A T Mondol.
He said the constituency failed on the development front despite the allocation of funds under multiple schemes and projects.
"We found that despite so many projects sanctioned, the level of implementation on the ground was dismal. As the leader of the constituency, the buck stops with him. People were abandoned and deprived of development in both the hill areas and the plains of the constituency and for us, in the NPP, public welfare is paramount. This is why we had to take this decisive step," said the chief minister.
Quoting his late father and veteran political leader PA Sangma, Conrad said, "Serve the people, not the money."
He said that many had criticised his decision to drop the party's sitting MLA and he was even subjected to a negative campaign on social media, but he remained undettered.
"The reason we chose AT Mondol as our party candidate was simple. To borrow my late father, PA Sangma, 'Never chase power, money or the chair. Work dedicatedly for the people and they will reward you'," he added.
He added that in the last five years, his government had released many programmes and schemes for Phulbari but they were not implemented.
"A political leader can never divide people or allow greed to overtake people's welfare," he said, adding that AT Mondol has a proven track record of working for all communities and areas.
With Leader of Opposition in the Assembly, Mukul Sangma, holding rallies in the plains to consolidate his position, Conrad Sangma is also campaigning vigoroulsy in the same region, claiming that the public mood was in favour of the NPP.
"The principal Opposition party (Trinamool Congress) in the state has been weakened wth the exit of several leaders. The people are in favour of a strong and vibrant party, which is the NPP," said Sangma.
He said he was hopeful of a repeat of 1972 when the erstwhile APHLC party, under the leadership of Late Captain Williamson A Sangma, went on to win a clear majority.
"We could repeat what the APHLC did in 1972," he said.
Explaining why a repeat of 1972 was possible, the chief minister claimed that the governance on his watch and the introduction and implementation of multiple pro-people schemes gives him the belief that his party will return with a thumping majority. (ANI)