Counting of votes in the Meghalaya Assembly elections are underway and the ruling National People's Party (NPP), which is vying to retain power in the northeastern state, has won two seats, the Election Commission said on Thursday. Although the latest trends give a lead to the NPP, which was also leading in 21 other constituencies, the party may need some help to form the government once again.
Chief Minister Conrad K Sangma was leading in the South Tura seat by a margin of 508 votes, while his deputy Prestone Tynsong was leading in Pynursla seat by over 4,288 votes. At the same time, NPP candidates Coming One Ymbon and Sniawbhalang Dhar have won from Raliang and Nartiang seats respectively by margins of 5,337 and 2,123 votes.
The United Democratic Party (UDP) has bagged one seat as party candidate and Meghalaya Assembly Speaker Metbah Lyngdoh won from Mairang by 155 votes, and was ahead in nine constituencies, while the BJP and the Trinamool Congress were ahead in five seats each, and the Congress and the Voice of the People Party (VPP) were leading in four seats each. The Hill State People's Democratic Party (HSPDP) and the People's Democratic Front were ahead in two constituencies each, while three Independent candidates were also leading.
Among prominent faces in the BJP, Congress and TMC, state Congress president Vincent H Pala was trailing behind NPP's Santa Mary Shylla by 2,019 votes in the Sutnga Saipung seat. On the other hand, Leader of Opposition Mukul Sangma of the TMC was leading from the Songsak seat by a mere 77 votes over NPP's ND Shira.
Meghalaya Assembly Speaker Metbah Lyngdoh was leading by 100 votes against Congress’ Batskhem Ryntathiang in Mairang constituency, while the saffron party’s Sanbor Shullai was leading by 6,490 votes against VPP’s Danny Langstieh in South Shillong seat. BJP state chief Ernest Mawrie was, however, trailing in West Shillong constituency.
The chief minister’s brother James PK Sangma, and other cabinet ministers Dasakhiat Lamare (NPP), Hamlet Dohling (NPP), Lahkmen Rymbui (UDP), Brolsing Nongsiej (UDP) and Renikton Tongkhar (UDP) were trailing in their respective constituencies.
Vote counting began at 8am in 59 out of 60 assembly seats in Meghalaya amid tight security. Polling in the Sohiong seat was, however, adjourned due to the death of a candidate. The results will reveal if the BJP can make further inroads in the hill state or if the opposition manages to dent its influence.