It’s a fight between the National People’s Party (NPP), Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), Congress and Trinamool Congress (TMC) as Meghalaya goes to polls on February 27.
Although the NPP and BJP were in the government together, they are going solo for the elections.
WHAT HAPPENED IN 2018?
In the 2018 Assembly polls, the ruling NPP won 19 seats, the Congress bagged 21 seats and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) managed to win two seats. The United Democratic Party (UDP) got six seats. The NPP and BJP formed the government in alliance.
PARTIES CONTESTING THIS TIME
This time, the Congress and the BJP are contesting all 60 seats, the NPP 57 and the TMC 56. The UDP is contesting 46 seats.
The NPP has ruled Meghalaya for the past five years with the BJP, but is facing anti-incumbency. All parties, including the BJP, have targeted the NPP.
The TMC is a new player in Meghalaya. As Mukul Sangma joined the TMC with 12 of the 17 MLAs from the Congress, the party is now an important player.
The BJP is contesting alone and aims to win more seats than last time. Last time, they had only two members in the government.
Most MLAs in Meghalaya have left the Congress. This time it’s a fight for existence for the party in the state.
VOTERS AND POLLING BOOTHS
Total polling stations: 3,419 (600+ vulnerable, 300+ critical)
(Original was 21,75,000+, but above figure is minus 1 AC where polls stands adjourned)
Total contesting candidates: 369
V & C: 84
CAPF: 119 companies
36 seats in Khasi Jaintia and 24 in Garo hills
There are more women voters than men in Meghalaya
Polls in Sohiong are postponed due to the death of a candidate. Now, 59 seats will go to polls.
Conrad Sangma: He is the Chief Minister of Meghalaya and President of NPP. He is the son of former speaker PA Sangma. He was also a Member of Parliament from Tura. He is contesting from South Tura constituency. He plays the guitar and is a fan of heavy metal brand IRON Maiden.
Mukul Sangma: A former CM of Meghalaya, the veteran politician, who was strongman of the Congress, is contesting from the TMC. He, along with 12 other MLAs, came out of the Congress and joined the TMC, and is now the leader of opposition. This time, Mukul Sangma is contesting from two seats — Songsak, where he is the MLA, and Tikrikilla.
James Sangma: He is the brother of Conrad Sangma and the Minister of Law, Power, Home in the state. He is a three-time MLA from Dadenggre.
Ernest Mawrie: The president of the Meghalaya BJP is contesting from the West Shillong constituency. He has immense popularity. He will fight sitting MLA Mohendra Rapsang of NPP.
Charles Pyngrope: The TMC President in Meghalaya and also a TMC player in Khasi and Jyantia hills. He joined the TMC from the Congress along with Mukul Sangma. He is said to be the ‘Khasi face’ of the TMC. This former Congressman was also the speaker. He is contesting from Nongthymmai.
Vincent Pala: The Congress Chief of Meghalaya. Many say it was his appointment that led to the exodus of Congress MLAs to the TMC. Pala is a coal baron. He was the Lok Sabha MP from Shillong from 2009. He is contesting the polls from Sutnga-Saipung constituency. He was the first MP from Meghalaya who became a Union Minister. This is the most challenging election for Pala.