Shillong: The battleground for the 2023 assembly elections is heating up with all 375, including 37 female candidates are in the fray as no nominee withdrew their candidatures on the last day of withdrawal of nomination on Friday.
Meghalaya is set to vote on February 27 to elect the new members of the 60-member 11th Meghalaya Legislative Assembly. Counting of votes will be held on March 2.
Chief Electoral Officer, Fredrick Roy Kharkongor said, there was no withdrawal of candidature on the last date Friday, which effectively means that 375 candidates from various political parties are in the fray.
Altogether 379 candidates have filed their nominations to contest for the 60-assembly seats, but during scrutiny of nominations papers, four candidates were rejected who were deemed as “dummies.”
This election has witnessed an increase in the number of candidates by 78, compared to the 2018 assembly election.
The coalition partners of the outgoing Meghalaya Democratic Alliance government which comprised of National People’s Party (NPP), Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), United Democratic Party (UDP), People’s Democratic Front (PDF) Hill State People’s Democratic Party (HSPDP) have decided to take on each other.
The Trinamool Congress became an opposition party in the Meghalaya Legislative Assembly after 12 rebel Congress legislators dumped the grand-old party and joined the Mamata Banerjee’s party in November 2021 is also fighting on its own.
The Voice of the People Party, a newly registered political party is contesting in 18 assembly seats with its founding member and two-time legislator, Ardent Miller Basaiawmoit contesting from Nongkrem assembly seat.
Incumbent Chief Minister and National People’s Party (NPP) supremo, Conrad K Sangma is seeking re-election from South Tura seat, Speaker Metbah Lyngdoh, who is also the president of United Democratic Party is contesting from Mairang assembly.
Leader of Opposition Dr. Mukul Sangma, who dumped the Congress in November 2021 and subsequently joined the Trinamool Congress is contesting from two assembly seats, Songsak and Tikrikilla.
Senior NPP leaders which includes Deputy Chief Minister Prestone Tynsong is seeking re-election from Pynursla, Health and Family Welfare Minister James Sangma, elder brother of Chief Minister Sangma, is seeking re-election from Dadenggre, Sports Minister Banteidor Lyngdoh of People’s Democratic Front is seeking re-election from Mawkynrew assembly constituency.
Veteran BJP legislator Alexander Laloo Hek is eyeing for the sixth consecutive time to be elected as member of the assembly from Pynthorumkhrah seat.
State Congress party chief and sitting member of the Lok Sabha from the Shillong parliamentary constituency, Vincent H Pala is trying his luck to get his berth in the assembly from Sutnga-Saipung assembly constituency.
Prominent female candidates in the fray included TMC legislator Dikanchi Dalbot Shira, wife of Mukul Sangma who is hopeful of retaining her Mahendraganj seat, veteran Congress leader-turned NPP candidate, Dr. Mazel Ampareen Lyngdoh from East Shillong, former Deputy Chief Minister and senior Congress leader, Deborah Marak from Williamnagar seat.