Meghalaya: KHNAM MLA to abstain from voting in RS polls

Shillong: KHNAM MLA Adelbert Nongrum has decided to abstain from voting for the election to the lone Rajya Sabha seat in the state giving a jolt to the ruling Meghalaya Democratic Alliance (MDA), the government of which it supports.

In his letter to Chief Minister Conrad K Sangma, Nongrum said he is abstaining from voting to express his dissent against the National Peoples Party whose Lok Sabha MP Agatha K Sangma had voted in favour of the Citizenship Amendment Bill (CAB) in parliament whereas the party in the state opposed it.

Conrad Sangma is the chief of the NPP.

The NPP in the Lok Sabha voted in favour of CAB which has now become an Act (CAA) whereas in our state the government is against the said Bill and even passed the resolution for implementation the Inner Line Permit (ILP). So the question now is, who is creating mockery? he said in the letter.

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I willingly express my dissent and I shall not participate in the upcoming Rajya Sabha election, 2020 whatsoever by way of abstention from exercising my voting right, the Khun Hynniewtrep National Awakening Movement (KHNAM) legislator said.

However, Conrad Sangma expressed confidence that MDA candidate W R Kharlukhi will win the election, which is scheduled on Friday.

The writing on the wall is clear that we will win this election, Conrad Sangma told reporters late on Wednesday after a meeting of the MDA.

Reacting to Nongrum’s decision, the chief minister said, it is his individual stand. We respect it and he can take decisions as he wishes but all partners present will be supporting and voting for Kharlukhi.

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KHNAM is a part of the United Progressive Forum (UPF), having seven MLAs including Independents in its kitty, it supports the MDA government in the state.

The opposition Congress, having 19 MLA in the 60-member House, has fielded former legislator Kennedy Khyriem for the election.

The MDA has the support of 41 MLAs in the House.

In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, staggered entry of voters, use of gloves and masks, besides social distancing guidelines will be strictly followed during the election, Chief Electoral Officer F R Kharkongor said.

Respiratory etiquettes will have to be followed within the polling station, he said.

Pre-COVID-19 election procedures have been revisited and preparations are being made by adhering to new protocols to reduce person-to-person contact, he said.

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