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Shillong seat: VPP sure of win; Congress, UDP wary

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SHILLONG, April 21: The voting process for the two parliamentary seats in Meghalaya ended on a peaceful note on Friday but since the end of the polling, political parties in the state have been experiencing agonising moments ascertaining the mood and decision of the people.
While the counting of votes will take place only on June 4 along with the rest of the country, the Voice of the People Party seems to been getting confident with each passing day about securing a comfortable win, and that too, with a margin of over one lakh votes in the Shillong seat.
The VPP’s confidence seems to stem from the alleged growing conviction in the NPP, Congress and RDA camps about the former posing the biggest threat to their Lok Sabha aspirations.
The Congress on Sunday admitted that the party’s biggest challenge in retaining the Shillong seat is the “massive wave in favour of the VPP”.
“We still have a strong chance to retain the Shillong seat. But there is no doubt that the VPP will give our incumbent MP Vincent H Pala a tough fight. What I predict is that we (Congress and VPP) have a 50-50 chance,” Meghalaya Pradesh Congress Committee (MPCC) working president PN Syiem told The Shillong Times.
He explained that the Congress is wary of the fact that people who normally vote for the regional parties have allegedly backed the VPP this time.
The UDP, too, is battling similar thoughts about the VPP posing the biggest challenge to RDA candidate Robertjune Kharjahrin’s journey to the Lok Sabha.
“Going by their meetings, the VPP gained a lot of ground and struck a chord with the people but it remains to be seen whether they translate into votes,” UDP general secretary admitted on Sunday.
“It is anybody’s guess at this juncture,” he added.
The VPP, on the other hand, is relaxed and confident. Revealing their post-poll assessment based on the voters’ turnout, percentage and also feedback from the ground, VPP spokesperson Batskhem Myrboh told The Shillong Times: “We are pretty sure that we will win comfortably and why I say that is because when you see the voters’ turnout, it has increased from 2019 and when there is an increase it always is in favour of those people looking for a change. We are a party seeking a change. The increase in turnout suggests that the VPP is winning.”
He sounded confident that the VPP will win with a margin of over 1 lakh votes. “Look at the turnout in terms of gender…women’s participation is greater than men in almost all constituencies. This suggest that VPP will do well because we have a strong support base among the women voters and increased participation of women augurs well for the party,” he added.
Talking about their ground assessment, he said, “From our ground assessment we found that we have performed very well in all the 36 constituencies. I will assure you that there will be no constituency where we will be third. I would say we are number one in almost all barring a few where we will stand a close second.”
“The contest is between VPP and either the Congress or the NPP. It is not that we will have a contest with the same party everywhere. In certain constituencies, the second or third position could go to the Congress or the NPP but the VPP will either be first or a close second in most Assembly segments,” Myrboh stated.

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