Regional parties hold the key in Meghalaya

Conrad K. Sangma  

Hours before the counting of votes in Meghalaya, the Congress and the Bharatiya Janata Party have started reaching out to the smaller and regional political parties who may hold the key to power in the hill state.

The two parties have contested the polls without any alliance.

Senior leaders of both are camping in the State and playing crucial role in the discussions.

All India Congress Committee (AICC) general secretary C.P. Joshi and BJP spokesperson Nalin Kohli have been camping in the State. While the Congress is contesting all 60 seats, the BJP is contesting 47.

There was hectic activity on Friday at the Congress Bhavan on Thana Road here.

“If the BJP is talking to other political parties, we are also not sitting ducks. We have not left the discussions for the last moment,” a senior Congress leader and AICC member told presspersons.

Major player

The National People’s Party (NPP), led by P.A. Sangma’s son and Tura MP Conrad Sangma, is an important player in the Meghalaya polls.

The party contested 52 seats. The NPP is part of the BJP-led North East Democratic Alliance (NEDA) and is an alliance partner of the BJP in the Manipur government.

While the NPP is perceived close to the BJP, the Congress is pinning its hopes on parties such as the United Democratic Party (UDP) and the Hill State People’s Democratic Party (HSPDP).

There are smaller players such as the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) and the Garo National Front.

Security arrangements

Meanwhile, Meghalaya’s Chief Electoral Officer F.R. Khargkongar said that a three-tier security arrangement had been made at counting centres of the State.

“Eleven companies of the Central Armed Police Forces have been deployed outside the 13 counting centres in the State. An additional six companies of Central Forces have been positioned to maintain law and order in the post-election scenario,” Mr. Khargkongar said.

Counting will be held in 59 of the 60 Assemblies in the State where polls were conducted in 3,025 polling stations.

The election to the Williamnagar Assembly seat was suspended following the death of NCP candidate Jonathone N. Sangma in an IED blast in the Meghalaya Garo Hills.

The number of electorate in the State is about 18.4 lakh and 85.7% of the voters exercised their franchise in the polls held on February 27.

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Printable version | Jan 25, 2022 6:01:56 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/elections/regional-parties-hold-the-key-in-meghalaya/article22911726.ece

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