Voters vent ire over negative campaign, shifting allegiances

TURA: The Congress has no one but itself to blame for the disastrous outcome in the Tura Lok Sabha by-election where despite having 22 MLAs and as many as 13 MDCs on their side they were decimated by the NPP.
Voters’ anger against the Congress’s negative campaign is said to have done it in.
Many voters had reacted with shock and disappointment over the Congress campaign in which they had allegedly tried to create apprehension about the BJP, a supporting ally of the NPP.
At several Congress election rallies unsubstantiated reports of attacks on minorities was highlighted by its leaders.
But what took the Congress to its lowest ebb was the personal attack on Late P A Sangma by none other than Chief Minister Mukul Sangma who was directing the campaign of Dikkanchi Shira single handedly.
At an election rally in Dalu on May 13 night, Mukul Sangma had questioned the work of P A Sangma until his final hour.
“What was the MP doing all this while? He was alive till March 4,” the Chief Minister allegedly said in his public speech at Chaipani which was captured on video by many who had come to hear him speak.
Dalu replied by giving the NPP 10551 votes and the Congress just 2923 votes.
Same was to be the case with another Congress legislator who ridiculed the opposition candidate only to face the wrath of his voters.
Kharkutta MLA Cherak W Momin had allegedly accused Conrad K Sangma of stalling MGNREGA fund release prompting NPP leaders led by Rupert Momin to issue a caution notice against the Congress parliamentary secretary.
Despite being one of the most vociferous in the campaign trail, the Kharkutta MLA could muster just 5735 votes for Dikkanchi Shira. It was a political slap on the face of Cherak Momin when voters of his own constituency gave P A Sangma’s son the record breaking figure of 18,907 votes, the highest among all 24 assembly segments of the Tura seat.
A similar fate awaited Rongjeng MLA and parliamentary secretary Sengnam Marak who polled the lowest number of votes for the Congress- 2285 against the NPP’s 17,045.
It was a double whammy for the Rongjeng MLA who was punished by his electorate for failing to get them a new civil sub-division.
However, the political battle was unforgiving for even those who got their side of the bargain.
Despite Chokpot constituency being made into a sub division the Congress lost to the NPP by a margin of 4872 votes.
A similar fate was in store for two legislators who switched sides for this election.
South Tura MLA John Leslee K Sangma and Gambegre MLA Saleng Sangma were at the receiving end of their voters’ anger.
Both Independent legislators had campaigned for P A Sangma in the 2014 elections and were known for taking on the government as opposition members in the state assembly.
Their sudden turnabout and entry into the Congress camp appeared to have disappointed a large section of the voters.
Saleng was able to garner only 2842 votes for Congress while the NPP polled 14917 votes.
The picture was similar for John Leslee Sangma who managed to win over only 3520 voters for the Congress. A whooping 15,765 voters gave their endorsement for the NPP candidate.
It was only Rajabala MLA Ashahel D Shira and power minister and Selsella legislator Clement Marak who gave a decent score to the result sheet despite losing in their respective constituencies.
Rajabala gave the Congress 8102 and Selsella 9377 votes.
A campaign devoid of personal attacks on individuals with focus being on the government’s developmental plank is believed to have deflected much of the voters’ ire against the Congress in both constituencies.

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