Shillong: Meghalaya seemed headed to a fractured mandate, with the ruling National People’s Party (NPP) on course to finishing as the single largest party in the state Assembly eight hours into the vote count on Thursday.
The NPP has bagged half a dozen seats so far and is leading in 19 other constituencies, while the United Democratic Party has won six and established leads in five seats. The BJP is occupying pole position in three constituencies with trends and results available for 59 seats of the 60-member House in the North Eastern state, famed for its idyllic surroundings.
The election in the Sohiong constituency has been adjourned following the death of former Home Minister and United Democratic Party candidate, Horju Donkupar Roy Lyngdoh.
Chief Minister and National People’s Party (NPP) national supremo, Conrad Sangma retained the South Tura seat defeating his nearest rival BJP’s candidate Bernard Marak. Among Conrad’s party colleagues, Deputy Chief Minister Prestone Tynsong Tourism minister Sniawbhalang Dhar, former Power Minister Comingone Ymbon and former Urban Affairs minister Dr. Mazel Ampareen Lyngdoh retained their assembly seats
However, the Chief Minister’s brother and senior NPP minister, James Sangma lost his Dadenggre assembly seat by a slim margin of just 7 votes to Trinamool Congress (TMC) nominee Rupa Marak.
Interestingly, the TMC and the Voice of the People Party (VPP), which are contesting the assembly elections for the first time, have won in three seats each. The TMC was ahead in two other seats and the VOP in one.
The Congress, which had finished as the single largest party in the previous election held five years back, has won four seats and is leading in one more.
Meghalaya Pradesh Congress Committee president and sitting Lok Sabha member, Vincent Pala lost on his home turf Sutnga-Saipung to NPP’s Santa Mary Shylla by 2,019 votes. Shylla polled 15,414 votes against Pala’s 13,395 votes.
All 21 Congress legislators elected in 2018 had crossed over to other parties in the intervening years. The TMC was virtually born out of deserters from the Congress.
Hill State People’s Democratic Party has pocketed two seats, while two candidates from the People’s Democratic Front were in the lead. Two independent aspirants have also registered victories.
UDP president and incumbent Assembly Speaker Metbah Lyngdoh won by a slender 155-vote margin against Congress’ candidate, Batskhem Ryntathiang in Mairang. UDP was an ally in the outgoing NPP-led Meghalaya Democratic Alliance government.
Another UDP candidate and Social Welfare Minister Kyrmen Shylla won by a big margin of 5606 votes over NPP heavyweight Nehlang Lyngdoh from Khliehriat assembly constituency.
For the BJP, incumbent Labour minister Sanbor Shullai retained his Shillong South seat for the third consecutive term, while senior BJP leader Alexander Laloo Hek is leading by 2538 votes in Pynthorumkhrah.
TMC state President Charles Pyngrope emerged triumphant from Nongthymmai. His party colleague and former Chief Minister Dr Mukul Sangma, in the fray from two seats, is leading by a small 359-vote margin in Songsak, but trailing by 5,313 votes in Tikrikilla.
With the NPP on course to emerging as the single largest party in the state, its top leaders have started to hold discussion on the formation of the new coalition government.
Chief Minister Conrad Sangma thanked the people for voting for his party.
“I thank the people of the state for voting our party. We are very thankful to them. We are short by few numbers of course and we will wait for the final result to come out and then we will decide how to
go,” he told reporters at Tura in West Garo Hills district.
When asked about forging an alliance with partners in the outgoing Meghalaya Democratic Alliance government — the BJP, United Democratic Party, the People’s Democratic Front, the Hill State People’s Democratic Party — Sangma said: “I could not even meet my people. Let me meet them and then we will decide. Let us see.”