Shillong, June 30 (IANS) Meghalaya’s ruling Congress on Tuesday won the by-election from Chokpot assembly constituency, with Bluebell Sangma snatching the seat from the Garo National Council (GNC) regional party.
Sangma defeated her nearest rival Phillipole D. Marak of the National People’s Party by 2,550 votes, Chief Electoral Officer Prashant Naik told IANS.
Sangma, a former Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) member who joined <strong class=’StrictlyAutoTagBold’>the Congress before the polls were announced, secured 8,042 votes. Phillipole got 5,492 votes.
The by-election followed the death of GNC legislator Clifford R. Marak early this year. Marak’s wife Kalpana D. Sangma contested but secured only 5,009 votes and finished third.
While independent candidate Tinkerwin R. Marak received 1,189 votes, 424 voters opted for “None of the Above” category.
The Chokpot election, held on Saturday, recorded an 83.11 percent turnout from among the 24,244 electorate.
“The Congress winning the election in Chokpot, which is a stronghold of a regional party, shows that Meghalaya’s people have strong faith in <strong class=’StrictlyAutoTagBold’>the Congress and its government in the state,” Congress general secretary V. Narayanasamy told IANS.
In the 60-member legislature, <strong class=’StrictlyAutoTagBold’>the Congress now has 30 seats – one short of a majority.
The NCP’s two members, one member from the North-east Democratic Socialist Party and 11 independents are supporting <strong class=’StrictlyAutoTagBold’>the Congress government.
The opposition Meghalaya People`s Front is made up of eight United Democratic Party legislators, two from the National People`s Party and two independents.
The Hill State People’s Democratic Party, which has four members, is not part of the Meghalaya People’s Front.