Tura set for a straight battle

Congress, NPP campaigns focus on plain-belt region

TURA: The battle lines have been drawn and it is going to be a straight contest between the NPP’s Conrad K Sangma and Congress candidate Dikkanchi D Shira for the Tura by-election slated for May 16.
No one filed nomination on the last day for filing of papers on Friday.
The contest is expected to be a highly charged battle between a young NPP candidate and son of veteran Garo leader P A Sangma and a Congress legislator who is no less than the chief minister’s wife.
Meanwhile, as the ruling Congress attempts at making inroads into the strongholds of the NPP with visits to Adokgre and Chibonga in North Garo Hills shortly after Late P A Sangma’s party sounded the poll bugle from those two places, the Opposition NPP also appears to be taking the battle to their rival camp.
Conrad led the campaign charge on Friday holding rallies at six different places in West Garo Hills, namely Tikrikilla, Raksamgre, Paham, Nidhanpur, Shyamnagar and Rajabala.
All six venues are located in constituencies currently held by legislators who are part of the Mukul Sangma government.
Interestingly, chief minister Mukul Sangma had held his first election rally at Raksamgre on Thursday.
Nidhanpur and Shyamnagar are part of Phulbari constituency which is represented by Congress heavyweight and assembly speaker A T Mondol.
Raksamgre is represented by Congress legislator Lemison Sangma while Tikrikilla and Rajabala have elected Independent MLAs, Michael T Sangma and Ashahel D Shira, who happen to be parliamentary secretaries in the Mukul Sangma government.
The NPP candidate was accompanied by his wife along with former Phulbari MLA Manirul Islam Sarkar, former Rajabala MLA K C Boro and other party members. Both Sarkar and Boro were previously Congress legislators.
Also at the campaign trail was Garo National Council (GNC) leader and deputy CEM in GHADC Augustine Marak whose party is backing the NPP for the by-election.
“I am very positive with the turnout at the rallies so far,” said an enthusiastic Conrad Sangma.
However, the Congress is also leaving no stone unturned by holding similar meetings at the village level. Rajabala MLA Ashahel D Shira was noticed holding several meetings at villages to drum up support for Congress candidate Dikkanchi D Shira. Meetings were held at Tarapara, Batabari, Balachanda and Rajabala to boost the Congress prospects.
“We are trying to reach out to the voters at the grass root level and highlight the Congress manifesto which is for all round development,” said Rajabala legislator Shira.
The Congress has pressed into service all of its  Garo Hills MLAs and ministers including its parliamentary secretaries and members of the district council (MDC).
Meghalaya chief minister  is expected to continue his election campaign for his wife and candidate Dikkanchi D Shira  from Monday .
Election Observer’s meeting: The General Observer for South West Garo Hills and South Garo Hills districts, Alka Shrivastav, will be available to meet the public on any grievances or complaints in connection with the conduct of by-election to Tura LS constituency.
For the public of South West Garo Hills, she will be available from May 2 to 6 and May 14 to 16 at the Circuit House, Ampati from 8 am to 10.30 am and from 7 pm to 9 pm.
For those in South Garo Hills, she will be available from May 7 to 13 at the Circuit House, Baghmara, from 8 to 10.30 in the morning and 7 to 9 in the evening. She can also be contacted over phone nos. 7896363821and 9436967401, an official statement said on Friday.

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