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Candidates on tenterhooks as fate is sealed in EVMs

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Our Bureau

SHILLONG/TURA/MAWKYRWAT/JOWAI, April 19: Has Meghalaya voted for change or will the incumbent parliamentarians sail through? With a turnout of 72.33% as of Friday evening, have the debutants done enough to swing the tide in their favour?
The fate of Meghalaya’s 10 candidates of parliamentary elections is now sealed in the electronic voting machines (EVMs).
According to figures updated by the Election Department at 7 pm on Friday, the state registered a 72.33 per cent voter turnout. It is expected to increase further and the final figures will be available by Saturday.
The prominent candidates in fray in the two Lok Sabha seats in the state, including the parties they represent, were huddled up after the end of voting at 4 pm on Friday, busy working on their analysis and calculations on the possible outcome of this election.
Each candidate exuded confidence of a positive outing, asserting they have done enough to convince the voters to exercise their franchise in their favour.
The voting day passed off without the usual fervour and hullaballoo associated with the Assembly elections in Meghalaya, making it difficult for both the candidates and the election pundits to get their assessment completed.
Speaking to The Shillong Times after casting his vote on Friday, incumbent Congress MP Vincent H Pala, said he was yet to collect the details from all the polling stations.
“It is too early to assess now since this time we have around 2,000 polling stations. The picture will be clearer by tomorrow. But I expect that I will be able to sail through from whatever inputs I have received so far,” Pala said, confident about him returning to the Lok Sabha for a fourth time.
He, however, predicted that the UDP which used to be his toughest rival had lost ground due to the emergence of the VPP.
“What I see is that the VPP will be my closest rival in this election,” Pala said.
NPP candidate, Ampareen Lyngdoh said she is yet to receive the ground report from all the constituencies.
“It will take time before we are able to make an assessment on the outcome of this election. But I am keeping my fingers cross. We have given our best in our campaign. Whatever may be the outcome, I have nothing to lose,” Lyngdoh said.
She was quick to add that she would not boast that she was going to win.
Debutant candidate from the VPP, Ricky AJ Syngkon said the feedbacks they have received from the 36 constituencies were positive and he was confident about sailing through to the Lok Sabha.
“We will have a clear picture only after a detailed analysis in the days to come on the votes which we expect to garner from all the polling stations,” Syngkon added.
On allegations that the VPP crossed all lines of decency during the campaign and disturbed other political parties, he said such accusations are commonplace when our political rivals know they are losing.
He also said his decision not to skip the queue at the polling station and wait for his turn to vote reflected the brand of politics the VPP believes in. “We tried to set an example to show the people that we practice what we preach,” he added.
The Regional Democratic Alliance (RDA) candidate, Robertjune Kharjahrin, expressed confidence that he would win the Shillong Lok Sabha seat.
After casting his vote at the Mawthawpdah polling station in the South West Khasi Hills district, he said, “We expect to win this election. We are not here to accuse or praise anyone. All the candidates are equally good, but the people have decided and we think the issues we raised resonated with them.”
Kharjahrin hoped the people of the Shillong parliamentary constituency voted for change, the protection for the ‘Jaitbynriew’ and the state as a whole, and also for the progress of the state and the country as a whole.
UDP general secretary, Jemino Mawthoh said that it is difficult to predict the outcome of this election.
He observed that the turnout of voters in the constituencies within Shillong city is less not than 50 percent as per the figures till 7pm.
According to him, the turnouts of voters in other constituencies are much better.
“It will be difficult to give a correct assessment. We are hopeful that our candidate will do well since we have the support of the MLAs from both the UDP and HSPDP and our party workers at the grassroots level,” he said.
All said and done, while the candidates and political parties have an air of confidence about them, the voters’ choice of candidate or party will only be known when counting takes place on June 4.

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