Wednesday, May 22, 2024

We will win Tura Lok Sabha seat by a thin margin: NPP’s Marcuise


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Ruling party non-committal on its prospect in Shillong

By Our Reporter

SHILLONG, April 22: The ruling National People’s Party (NPP) admitted that it faced a tough challenge from the Congress in the Tura seat but felt it will still win the seat, albeit by a small margin of votes.
The party, however, refrained from claiming a victory in the Shillong seat, saying that it put up a good fight.
After assessing the polls, NPP working president and Cabinet Minister Marcuise N Marak said it was a neck and neck battle between the NPP’s Agatha Sangma, who is the sitting MP, and the Congress’ Saleng A Sangma in the Tura seat.
“I agree that it was a tough fight between the NPP and the Congress. In the last minute, religious sentiments captured the people. However, we are hoping to win by a thin margin,” he said.
Claiming that the Congress does not have much in Garo Hills in terms of organisational strength, he said the religious sentiments and the failure of the Trinamool Congress (TMC) to hold on to their vote-banks made it a contest between the NPP and the Congress. He felt the TMC supporters went to the Congress’ side at the last minute.
Marak said the BJP’s support to the NPP triggered the religious sentiments. He felt it impacted the NPP negatively to some extent.
“We tried to explain to them (voters) that it is a coalition and it is not that we are joining the BJP. They have their ideology and we have our own ideology. We said we tied up for the sake of administration and governance,” he said.
Talking about the TMC, he said the party will be far behind and not be able to secure even the votes it got last year in the Assembly polls. He cited alleged non-acceptance of the party and its poor organisational setup as the reasons.
As regards the contest in Shillong, the NPP said it worked very hard to win the seat.
Party’s working president Hamletson Dohling said, “In politics, assessment may go right and sometimes, wrong. The thing is we gave a good fight. All our party workers worked really hard for a win in all 36 (Assembly) constituencies (falling under the Shillong Lok Sabha seat). Hopefully, we will come up with the numbers.”
He said it was a triangular contest among the Congress, the NPP and the Voice of the People Party.
On Sunday, the VPP had boasted about securing a comfortable win in Shillong seat with a margin of over 1 lakh votes. The VPP’s confidence seems to stem from the alleged growing conviction in the NPP, Congress and RDA camps about the VPP posing the biggest threat to their Lok Sabha aspirations in Shillong.
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 had 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 thought about the VPP posing the biggest challenge to RDA candidate Robertjune Kharjahrin’s journey to the Lok Sabha.


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