Meghalaya polls: NPP emerges single-largest party with 26 seats

The BJP, which had brought star campaigners, including Prime Minister Narendra Modi, party chief J P Nadda and Shah, managed to win only two seats.

Shillong: The ruling National People’s Party (NPP) in Meghalaya emerged as the single-largest party in the state on Thursday, clinching 26 seats out of the 59 constituencies that went to polls on February 27, the Election Commission said.

However, it fell short of gaining a majority in the 60-member assembly, even as Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said his Meghalaya counterpart Conrad K Sangma sought the support of Union Home Minister Amit Shah in forming the new government.

The BJP, which had brought star campaigners, including Prime Minister Narendra Modi, party chief J P Nadda and Shah, managed to win only two seats.

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The United Democratic Party (UDP), which was NPP’s ally in the Sangma government, emerged the second-largest party, winning 11 constituencies. It had won only six seats in the 2018 polls.

The Congress and the Mamata Banerjee-led TMC won five seats each.

The newly formed Voice of the People Party (VPP) won four seats, while the Hill State People’s Democratic Party (HSPDP), the People’s Democratic Front won two seats each. Two Independent candidates also emerged victorious.

Sangma won from the South Tura seat by a margin of 5,016 votes, while his deputy Prestone Tynsong won the Pynursla seat by 8,140 votes, the EC data showed.

“I thank the people of our state for having voted for our party. We are grateful to them. We are still short of the numbers and will decide on the way forward later,” the CM said.

His Assam counterpart said Nadda has advised the Meghalaya unit of the BJP to support the NPP when it forms the next government in the state.

“Sri @SangmaConrad , Chief Minister of Meghalaya, called @AmitShah ji, Hon’ble Home Minister, and sought his support and blessings in forming the new Government,” Sarma tweeted.

“Adaraniya Sri @JPNadda ji , the national president of the @BJP4India has advised the state unit of BJP, Meghalaya to support the National People’s Party in forming the next government in Meghalaya,” the Assam CM added.

NPP spokesperson Ampareen Lyngdoh said the ruling party will have to seek the support of others to return to power for the second consecutive term.

Tynsong, after his victory was announced, told PTI, “In Meghalaya politics, individual candidates matter more than the party. It is the nominees who win the elections, not the party.”

“We expected to cross the magic number on our own, but did not foresee such a divided mandate,” he said.

Leader of Opposition Mukul Sangma of the TMC won the Songsak seat by a margin of 507 votes, but lost the Tikrikilla constituency to NPP’s J D Sangma by 5,313 votes, according to the EC data.

State Congress president and MP Vincent H Pala lost to NPP’s Santa Mary Shylla by 1,828 votes in the Sutnga Saipung seat. Cabinet ministers James P K Sangma, Brolding Nongsiej, Hameltson Dohling and Dasakhiatbha Lamare were among candidates who lost.

Meghalaya Assembly Speaker Metbah Lyngdoh won the Mairang constituency by 155 votes, while BJP’s Sanbor Shullai clinched the South Shillong seat by 11,609 votes.

Counting of votes began at 8 am amid tight security.

Polling in the Sohiong seat was adjourned due to the death of a candidate.

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