Monday, April 22, 2024

With INDIA bloc in disarray, will it be advantage NPP?


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From Our Correspondent

Tura, March 13: It is now official that the INDIA bloc in Meghalaya is a non-starter with both parties aligned with the bloc (Congress and TMC) officially announcing their candidates for the upcoming MP elections for the Tura seat.
While the Congress announced Saleng Sangma as their candidate, the TMC has gone with former MLA and minister, Zenith Sangma in a late evening announcement on Tuesday. This has meant that almost all the major players in the upcoming elections have been named barring the BJP, which is expected to field a candidate for Tura.
Now that the proposed single candidate for the INDIA bloc in Meghalaya has gone for a mighty toss, will the sitting Tura Lok Sabha member, Agatha Sangma have a relatively easier fight on her hands in her effort to retain the seat?
While it may not be a cakewalk, a divided opposition is most likely to play into the hands of the NPP as was seen in last year’s Assembly elections.
The decision of the TMC and its leadership to go it alone after the Congress named Saleng Sangma as their candidate for the Tura seat, will not come as any surprise to those that know the intricacies of local politics.
In the Assembly elections in Garo Hills last year, the NPP emerged as the party with the highest vote share. Unsurprisingly it was the Mukul Sangma-led TMC which emerged as the second largest party by vote share, relegating the Congress to the third position. The BJP, despite its increase in vote share over the previous elections came fourth.
The state’s political dynamics however, with the TMC and Congress leadership being at loggerheads, ensured that a united opposition remained a non-starter. The rhetoric from both the Congress and the TMC was that one concedes the seat to the other to join forces to oust the NPP from the Tura seat. To many, the coalition in Meghalaya was wishful thinking from the very beginning.
Just going by the numbers, a united opposition in the form of TMC-Congress alliance could have provided a tougher fight to Agatha Sangma especially with the BJP also looking to consolidate the gains made in the recent Assembly elections.
Currently all three named candidates along with the three ticket aspirants for the BJP, are out in the field across Garo Hills in an effort to muster support for their cause to lead the region at the Centre.
All things said and done, the NPP leadership, for now, will breathe a lot easier as a three way contest has turned square, which would mean that the party could have more gains than losses. The Tura seat has been with late PA Sangma’s family over many decades and with most results in the last Assembly elections going the way of the party, Agatha will remain odds on favourite to retain the Tura seat.


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