M’laya heads towards hung verdict

By Our Reporter

 SHILLONG: A day after the Assembly election held on Saturday, voices are being heard across the State that Meghalaya is once again heading towards a fractured mandate.

Even political parties are gearing up to engage themselves in the tussle to form the next government in the State since none of the parties seem to be sure about securing a clear majority in the House.

The Shillong Times on Sunday spoke to prominent leaders of political parties and sought to know their expectations for February 28 when the results would be announced.

United Democratic Party (UDP) working president Bindo M Lanong said that his party was expecting around twenty seats out of the fifty in which the party had fielded its candidates.

He, however, made it clear that many people in the party were against the idea of a coalition with the Congress to form the next government, if in case the Congress fails to secure majority in the House.

“Congress is a divided house and it won’t be easy to form a government with them,” he added.

On the other hand, Congress leaders, though unsure of securing absolute majority in the Assembly, have expressed confidence that the party would come close to the 30-mark figure in the House.

“We expect around 28 or 29 seats,” MPCC working president Deborah Marak said, while adding that the party would take a collective decision under the directive of All India Congress Committee (AICC) on whether to form a coalition.

It may be reminded that the Congress is the only party to have fielded candidates in all the sixty seats in the State.

Meanwhile, the newly floated National People’s Party (NPP), which has fielded 32 candidates, is expecting more seats than what the NCP managed in the 2008 Assembly election.

NPP leader Conrad Sangma said, “Last time we got 15 but this time we will get more.”

Sangma also informed that the party is still in a discussion mode on whether to go for any coalition or not.

The BJP, which managed to win one seat in the last election, is hoping for a much better performance this time.

The party is confident that five or six of its candidates will emerge victorious in the election battle.

“We are expecting five to six seats in the sixty-member Meghalaya Legislative Assembly.

We are expecting to win in Khasi and Garo Hills,” BJP general secretary Dipayan Chakraborty said. The saffron party has fielded candidates in 13 seats.

Meanwhile, the NCP, which has fielded 21 candidates, is hoping to win at least 5 to 7 seats.

“If situation demands for the sake of stability we will go for coalition. However, we don’t mind sitting in the opposition,” NCP Meghalaya general secretary Constantine N Thma said.

However, with 122 of them contesting the polls, the Independent candidates are set to play a major role in the government formation in the State.

Political analysts say that the number of Independent legislators in the Assembly this time would be far greater than on previous occasions and they would be the deciding factor in the event of a hung verdict on February 28.

It is noteworthy that several prominent Congress aspirants, after having been denied the party ticket, had decided to contest the election as Independents.

Independent candidate from Umroi, who is also the sitting Congress legislator, Stanly Wiss Rymbai said, “We will have to wait and watch the role of Independent candidates after the results are announced.”

Rymbai is confident that around 10-15 Independent candidates would win this time.

Independent candidate from Mawryngkneng, David Nongrum, says that this time there is a neck-to-neck fight between Independents and party candidates in some of the constituencies and nothing can be said until the results are actually announced on February 28.

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