Monday, July 22, 2024

Shillong seat: Parties ‘confident’ but ‘cautious’ ahead of counting


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SHILLONG/ NEW DELHI, June 2: The fate of the six candidates who contested the Shillong Lok Sabha seat will be decided on Tuesday when the results are announced.
The Voice of the People Party (VPP) has exuded confidence about winning the seat by a margin of more than 1 lakh votes.
Congress, on the other hand, claimed the outcome on June 4 would be no different from the past three elections won by its candidate, Vincent H Pala.
The ruling National People’s Party dismissed the exit polls predicting its win in one seat in Meghalaya. The party is confident about pocketing both Tura and Shillong seats for the first time in its history.
NPP spokesperson, Himalaya M Shangpliang admitted that the fight was tough in both the seats but NPP would come out with flying colours, defeating its traditional rival Congress.
Justifying his claim, Shangpliang said that despite some hiccups during the campaign, Agatha Sangma will retain her Tura seat with people’s support. In the case of Shillong there is anti-incumbency factor for the sitting Congress MP, Vincent H Pala which is going to help Ampareen Lyngdoh.
Delving into details, Shangpliang said that the vote share of the NPP has increased with several sitting and former MLAs joining the party over the years.
“The BJP’s vote share has also been added since it did not field any candidate and supported us as part of the NDA,” he said.
In the bordering areas of Khasi Hills, there are many Garo voters who supported the NPP, he said. The NPP also has a support base in Jaintia Hills which helped Ampareen, he added.
NPP candidate Ampareen Lyngdoh said she has faith in the power of the people. “I believe they will give the verdict for the most deserving candidate,” she said.
She said she is grateful that the Lok Sabha election gave her the opportunity to travel across 35 other constituencies in Khasi-Jaintia Hills to know what the state government has to do in future.
“I now have valuable inputs to build this parliamentary constituency brick by brick alongside the party and its leadership. I express my gratitude to the electorate for the warm reception I encountered along the way,” she added.
The VPP candidate, Ricky AJ Syngkon said his party was confident of victory because of the overwhelming support received from across the 36 Assembly segments in the Khasi-Jaintia Hills. The issues it raised struck a chord with the common people, he told The Shillong Times on Sunday.
He acknowledged the party workers for their hard work that put VPP in a “very strong” position.
“I will try to work for the interest of the state with the support of everyone if I am elected,” Syngkon said.
VPP spokesperson, Batskhem Myrboh explained why the party was upbeat about bagging the Shillong seat.
“The people see the VPP as the only alternative in the state. The principles and ideology of the party resonate with the public. It is clear that the people have accepted the VPP as the only party that will work for them,” he said.
Stating that there will be skepticism against any political party, he said only a minority harbours doubts about the VPP’s ability to deliver. “We expect to win by a margin of more than 1 lakh votes,” he said.
Pala said he has never lost sleep over electoral outcomes. He said he is used to being labelled a loser before the counting.
“I have won after being written off thrice,” he said, admitting the VPP put up a strong fight this time.
Congress Legislature Party leader, Ronnie V Lyngdoh said the party will win both the Shillong and Tura parliamentary seats. He claimed the party received feedback that its candidates garnered support despite sitting in the opposition with only five MLAs in the current Assembly.
“This indicates the people still have trust and faith in Congress,” he said, adding that the NPP has not been confident about retaining the Tura seat.
The RDA candidate, Robertjune Kharjahrin said he will accept “with all humility” the verdict of the people on Tuesday. “Whatever the outcome, I will continue to serve the people as a member of the UDP,” he said, choosing not to predict the outcome of the election.
UDP general secretary, Jemino Mawthoh said they cannot underestimate Congress owing to Pala’s relationship with the electorate over three terms. “We also cannot overlook the wave in favour of the VPP, if one goes by the crowd the party drew to its rallies,” he said.
He, however, said social media played an important role in this election to influence the voters.
“It is difficult to make any prediction. There could be a surprise,” he said.


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