Meghalaya Chief Minister Mukul Sangma, who is making effort to enter assembly for the fifth time, has filed nominations from a second constituency too in addition to his traditional seat of Ampati. The Congress strongman is in the fray from Ampati in South West Garo Hills district as well Songsak in East Garo Hills district for February 27 state elections. This is for the first time that Sangma, who is Chief Minister of Meghalaya for past 10 years, is also contesting from a second seat. After end of scrutiny of nomination papers, Ampati has only three contestants, including the CM. Songsak has seven candidates including Sangma in the fray. At Ampati, Sangma would face a triangular contest after the BJP fielded former bureaucrat Bakul Hajong from the seat.
Independent candidate Joyanto Marak is also a strong contender from the constituency. Altogether 374 candidates have been cleared for fighting the state poll after scrutiny of nominations. Out of this, there are 33 women and 85 Independent candidates, chief electoral officer F R Kharkongor told PTI today. Rongjeng constituency in East Garo Hills district has maximum number of 11 candidates in the field for the poll for 60 constituencies of Meghalaya. Tikrikilla and North Tura constituencies have 10 candidates each. The CEO said the last day of withdrawal of nominations is February 12. The date of counting will be on March 3, three days before the tenure of the current assembly ends. Besides, Ampati seat, two other constituencies– Sohiong and Bajengdoba–also have only three candidates in the fray.
Chief Minister’s colleague and close confidant H Donkupar Roy Lyngdoh, who was given plump portfolios in charge of Home and Transport in the last re-shuffling, will also face a triangular contest at his Sohiong constituency in East Khasi Hills district. Samling Malngiang, a candidate of the Hills State Peoples Democratic Party (HSPDP) is the regional parties best bet against the Donkupar whose eldest son was defeated in the autonomous district council elections over a year ago.
Judah J M Wahlang put up by the Peoples Democratic Front, a new political party floated last year, may crack in either of the vote banks spoiling any of the top runner’s votes. The third triangular contest in this election will be in Bajengdoba constituency where the Congress, the National Peoples’ Party and the BJP will put in their best bet against each other. Brigaddy Marak who joined the Congress last month will contest against the former MLA and BJP’s candidate John Manner Marak and the NPP’s candidate Pongseng Marak from Bajengdoba seat.