Congress wins Meghalaya by-election

Shillong, June 30 (IANS) The ruling Congress on Tuesday won the by-election in Meghalaya’s Chokpot assembly constituency, with Bluebell Sangma defeating her nearest rival Phillipole D. Marak of the National People’s Party by 2,550 votes, Chief Electoral Officer Prashant Naik told IANS on the phone.

Sangma, a former Nationalist Congress Party member, who joined the Congress party before the by-election was announced, secured 8,042 votes while Phillipole garnered 5,492 votes.

The by-election was necessitated following the death of Garo National Council legislator Clifford R. Marak early this year.

Marak’s wife Kalpana D. Sangma secured 5,009 votes.

While independent candidate Tinkerwin R. Marak received 1,189 votes, 424 voters opted for the None of the Above category in the by-election.

The Chokpot by-poll, held on Saturday, recorded an 83.11 percent turnout of the 24,244 electorate.

“Congress winning the by-election in Chokpot constituency which is a stronghold of the regional political party shows that people of Meghalaya have strong faith in the Congress party and accepted the performance of the Congress government in the state,” Congress General Secretary in-charge Meghalaya, V. Narayansammy, told IANS.

In the 60-member legislature, the Congress now has 30 seats – one short of a majority.

The Nationalist Congress Party, which has two members, one member from the North-east Democratic Socialist Party and 11 independent legislators are supporting the Congress.

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.

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