The Election Commission’s announcement of Meghalaya Assembly poll on February 27 was welcomed by most political parties in the state, barring the BJP on Wednesday.
The ruling alliance partners NPP, UDP and the opposition TMC and Congress welcomed the EC announcement and said they are ready for the poll battle.
Meghalaya BJP was, however, discountenanced at the long time span between the announcement of the date and the holding of the election and said it will give “ample opportunity to major parties to influence voters”.
The EC Wednesday declared February 27 as the date of poll and March 2 for counting. The notification for the elections will be issued on January 31.
Chief Minister Conrad P Sangma, who is also the president of the National People’s Party, the major party in the ruling Meghalaya Democratic Alliance (MDA), welcomed the announcement of the poll.
“We thank the EC for taking into account numerous factors while preparing for the election. We appeal to all parties and poll candidates to ensure that the election is violence-free and to maintain peace during the election,” he told PTI.
When contacted state BJP president Ernest Mawrie said, “We are upset that the election will be held almost a month and a half later. This will give ample opportunity to the ruling alliance parties to influence the voters … We worked hard for the past five years. Those who work in the last minute may also get the votes”.
The BJP is prepared to contest the poll and so far candidates from over 40 seats have approached the party for tickets, he claimed.
BJP is a constituent of the MDA and has not entered into any prepoll understanding with any political party.
“We are not in favour of any pre-poll alliance. We will contest on our own and we will comfortably win 10-15 seats,” he said.
Jemino Mawthoh, general secretary of United Democratic Party (UDP), welcomed the EC’s announcement and said “It gives us ample opportunity to prepare ourselves up for the poll.” He said that all the five MLAs, including PHE minister Renikton Tongkhar, who quit the Assembly during the day have joined the UDP.
“We are upbeat with the formal joining of the five MLAs today and we look forward to more leaders of different political parties to amalgamate with us in the days to come,” he added.
Congress too welcomed the announcement of the poll date, as did Mamata Banerjee’s Trinamool Congress which has emerged as the main opposition party of the northeastern state.
“We are prepared to fight the electoral battle and are confident of winning the maximum number of seats,” Congress state president Vincent H Pala told PTI.
Asked to comment on the desertion by Congress MLAs in favour of TMC, NPP and UDP, he said, “The leaders may have left the party, but the people have not. They (voters) are not fooled, we (Congress) will come back stronger.”
Pala is contesting the Assembly poll from Sutnga Saipung constituency in the eastern Jaintia Hills region. He will take on Shitang Pale, a former colleague in Congress. Pale had joined the TMC but resigned from it during the day and will contest on a UDP ticket.
TMC state president Charles Pyngrope welcoming the announcement of the poll date said, “It comes with great timing. We expect to do a lot of things as preparation in the next one month for the election.
“Everything is positive for us wherever we go, we are hoping to do well,” he said.
MDA partners HSPDP and PDF could not be contacted for their views despite repeated efforts.
In the present house the ruling NPP at present has 20 MLAS, UDP eight. PDF two, BJP two, NCP one, TMC eight and Independent one lawmaker. Five lawmakers, including the state PHE minister quit hours before the announcement of the polld date.
(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)
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