SHILLONG: Political parties in Meghalaya, here on Sunday, welcomed the announcement of single-phase election to the two Lok Sabha seats — Shillong and Tura — on April 11, and said they expect a free and fair poll.
The ruling National People’s Party (NPP), which is leading the six-party Meghalaya Democratic Alliance (MDA) coalition government, is expected to field a candidate in Tura Parliamentary seat.
“We welcome the announcement of elections. As a party, we will work towards putting up as many candidates as possible. The party will announce the name of candidates shortly,” Chief Minister and NPP president Conrad Sangma said.
Conrad, son of former Lok Sabha Speaker late Purno Agitok Sangma, had represented Tura Lok Sabha seat for more than two years, before he took oath as the 12th Chief Minister of Meghalaya on March 6, 2018.
Since 1977 and until his demise, with the exception of 1989 and 2009, late Sangma had represented Tura in the Lok Sabha for nine terms.
However, it is not clear if the NPP will field a candidate of its own or support common candidate sponsored by the MDA coalition.
Interestingly, the BJP, which is part of the ruling coalition, has decided to contest both the seats.
The United Democratic Party, which is a key partner of the MDA, is in favour of a common candidate against the Congress. It has projected its former legislator Jemino Mawthoh as the common candidate of the MDA.
The Opposition Congress is confident of retaining Shillong Parliamentary seat, represented by its two-time MP and former Union Minister Vincent H. Pala, besides snatching away the Tura Parliamentary seat from the NPP.
“We are confident to win both seats as the people of Meghalaya do not support ‘divisive politics’ and ‘false promises’ of the BJP. The people will vote out the BJP and bring back the Congress to power,” Congress leader Ronnie V. Lyngdoh said.
However, State BJP President Shibun Lyngdoh said his party would spring a surprise in the Lok Sabha elections as the BJP-led NDA have ensured all-round development in the past five years.
“The BJP has decided to field candidates in Shillong and Tura since there is a demand from the people to contest the elections,” Lyngdoh said. (IANS)
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