Twin bypolls in Meghalaya on Thursday, CM’s fate to be decided

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Shillong, Aug 22 (IANS) The stage is set for Thursday’s twin assembly by-elections to South Tura and Ranikor in Meghalaya with four companies of Central armed forces being deployed in both the constituencies.

Chief Minister Conrad Sangma, who is also the national chief of the National People’s Party (NPP), is contesting the by-election and is hopeful to win the South Tura assembly seat in order to retain his chief ministership.

Agatha Sangma resigned as member from South Tura Assembly seat to pave the way for her brother Conrad to contest the by-election.

Conrad is pitted against Congress candidate Charlotte W. Momin, John Leslee K. Sangma and Kris Kabul A. Sangma who are contesting as Independents.

The Ranikor assembly seat fell vacant after former Public Works Department Minister and five-time Congress legislator from Ranikor constituency, Martin Dango, resigned as member of the State Assembly and joined the ruling NPP after the government announced the creation of Ranikor Civil Sub-Division.

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Dango is facing three candidates in his bid to get re-elected — Congress’ Jacquish A. Sangma, United Democratic Party’s Pius Marwein and People’s Democratic Front’s P.N. Syiem.

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which is part of the NPP-led Meghalaya Democratic Alliance government, has decided not to contest the by-elections and support the NPP candidate Conrad from South Tura assembly seat.

However, the saffron party remained neutral for the Ranikor by-poll.

South Tura assembly constituency in West Garo Hills district has around 30,230 voters spread across 36 polling stations.

Ranikor assembly constituency in South West Khasi Hills district bordering Bangladesh has 65 polling stations with a total of 29,685 voters.

In both constituencies, electronic voting machines and VVPATs will be used.

Conrad, the lone NPP Lok Sabha member from Tura constituency, who was sworn as the 12th Chief Minister of Meghalaya on March 6, is a non-elected member to the 60-member assembly.

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