In a repeat of the 2014 Lok Sabha elections in Meghalaya, the National People’s Party (NPP) and the Congress retained the Tura and Shillong seats respectively in the Parliamentary polls this year, the results of which were declared this evening.
Congress candidate and sitting MP Vincent Pala scored a hat-trick by winning the Shillong Lok Sabha seat by 4,19,709 votes. He defeated his nearest United Democratic Party rival, Jemino Mawthoh, by a margin of over 1.52 lakh votes.
In Tura, NPP candidate Agatha Sangma won the seat by garnering 3,03,895 votes. She defeated Congress candidate and former Chief Minister Mukul Sangma by 63,775 votes.
The Tura seat has remained a political fortress of the Purno Sangma family for several decades now. Both the verdicts were on predictable lines with Pala being the favourite for the Shillong seat and Agatha for Tura.
In fact, Mukul Sangma was a reluctant candidate who was pushed into the fray by the party high command. The former Chief Minister and Congress candidate did not apply for the party ticket, but his name cropped up in the list from New Delhi.
Meanwhile, Chief Minister Conrad Sangma today thanked the people of Garo Hills for reposing their faith in the NPP candidates in the Tura Lok Sabha seat and the Selsella Assembly by-election.
“We thank the people of Garo Hills for reposing their faith in our candidates. We also thank the other contesting candidates for ensuring that the election went off in a proper manner,” Sangma said.
Both the winning Lok Sabha candidates won their elections by securing an astounding 50 per cent plus vote share. Agatha cornered 52.23 per cent of the total votes, while her political rival, Mukul Sangma, got 41.27 per cent of the vote share.
The third candidate in the fray was the BJP nominee, Rikman Garrey Momin, who secured a mere 5.39 per cent of the total vote share with a total vote of 31,330.
Similarly, in the Shillong seat, Pala got a whopping 53.57 per cent of the vote share, while his nearest rival from the UDP got 34.13 per cent. BJP’s Sanbor Shullai came third getting just 9.68 per cent of the votes, which translated into 75,790 votes.
“The victory margin is huge and for this, the party workers and the State president have done an excellent work,” Pala said after his victory, adding that he would now work for developing connectivity and the unemployed in the State.
Earlier, counting began at 8 am in the 13 counting centres across the State and early trends put the two eventual winners ahead. The lead kept on increasing as the day progressed for both the winners.
In all, over 7,83,096 voters exercised their franchise in Shillong and 5,81,876 in Tura. Out of the total 13.64 lakh eligible voters, 71.41 per cent exercised their franchise.
The break-up of the voting percentage for the two seats was: Shillong Parliamentary 65.49 and Tura 81.30.
Meanwhile, the NPP has also wrested the Selsella Assembly seat in the by-poll from the Congress with its candidate, Ferlin CA Sangma, securing 15,857 votes (54.66 per cent.)
June Eliana R Marak of the Congress came second, securing 11,461 votes. The seat fell vacant after the demise of Congress MLA and former minister Clement R Marak.
With this seat, the NPP has become the single largest party with 21 members as against 20 of the Congress in the 60-member Meghalaya House.