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HomePoliticsNPP Leads on 27 Seats, TMC 7, BJP 4, Congress 4 and...

NPP Leads on 27 Seats, TMC 7, BJP 4, Congress 4 and UDP 6; Counting Underway

was trailing by 1,257 votes in the Sutnga Saipung seat against NPP’s Santa Mary Shylla. Leader of opposition Mukul Sangma of the TMC was leading from the Songsak seat by 457 votes over NPP’s ND Shira. Counting of votes began in Meghalaya at 8 am amid tight security. The votes are being counted at 13 centres. Meghalaya has 60 seats, but polling in the Sohiong seat was adjourned due to the death of a candidate.

As exit polls predicted a hung assembly, Chief Minister Conrad K Sangma met Assam CM Himanta Biswa Sarma on Tuesday night, fuelling speculations of a post-poll tie-up. Sangma’s NPP and the BJP ran the last government together as part of the Meghalaya Democratic Alliance (MDA) but fought the elections on their own.

While regional parties remain bigger players in both Meghalaya and Nagaland, the BJP ran a determined campaign with its bigwigs, including Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah, in the states to expand its footprints.

For the first time, the BJP fought on all 60 seats in Meghalaya and constantly targeted National People’s Party leader and Chief Minister Conrad Sangma for running the “most corrupt” state government in the country.

The BJP was a partner in the state government but broke ties ahead of the polls. The party hopes to boost its strength from two in the assembly to emerge as a more powerful player if the verdict throws up a hung assembly like the last time.

Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma, the BJP’s pointsman for the northeast region, met Sangma after the polls in an indication that the two parties can do business together again. An interesting sideshow to these election is the strong push by West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee-led Trinamool Congress to make an impact in the polls to project itself as a stronger challenger to the BJP than the Congress, more so as the countdown to the next Lok Sabha polls in 2024 begins.

The Congress has also run an intensive campaign, with Rahul Gandhi holding a rally in Meghalaya, in its bid to claw back its lost influence in the states it once dominated.

In Nagaland, which had the unique feature of having no opposition as all parties with presence in the 60-member assembly backed the Nationalist Democratic Progressive Party-led government, the BJP is again fighting the polls in alliance with the NDPP.

Sarma has claimed that there will be no hung assembly in Tripura, Nagaland or Meghalaya, as predicted in some exit polls, and the BJP-led NDA will form governments with absolute majority in all three northeastern states.

On February 27, 85.90 per cent of Nagaland’s 13.16 lakh voters and 85.17 per cent of Meghalaya’s 21.75 lakh electors cast their ballots.

Poll officials of the two states said that the poll percentage will increase after the calculation of postal ballots.

Thousands of polling staff, security personnel, and other workers engaged in election related duties, and 80 plus senior citizens and physically challenged voters cast their votes through the postal ballots.

Meghalaya Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) F.R. Kharkongor told IANS that vote counting will take place at 13 centres in all 12 district headquarters and one sub-divisional headquarter in Sohra.

Nagaland election officials said that the votes will be counted in 59 centers across the 16 district headquarters.

Balloting was not held in one Assembly constituency in each of Meghalaya and Nagaland, which have 60 seats each in the state Assemblies.

Polling was not held in Sohiong Assembly Constituency in East Khasi Hills district of Meghalaya, following the death of United Democratic Party (UDP) candidate, H. Donkupar Roy Lyngdoh.

In Nagaland, ruling Bharatiya Janata Party candidate Kazheto Kinimi was re-elected unopposed from the Akuluto Assembly constituency after his only opponent and Congress nominee Khekashe Sumi withdrew his candidature.

With inputs from PTI, IANS

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