Only eight days remain for Meghalaya’s 21.62 lakh voters to go to the polling booths and cast their votes. Recently I have already covered and given my overview about the likely electoral scenario in the 36 Assembly constituencies of Jaintia Hills and Khasi Hills sectors. Now through this write up I present to you the electoral scenario in the Garo Hills sector.
Let me begin from 43-Williamnagar AC by saying that this Assembly segment will witness a stiff contest among Deborah Marak of INC, Marcuise Marak of NPP and Alphonsus R. Marak of TMC but many voters said that Deborah may bounce back. In 37-Kharkutta AC the real contest for votes is between Cherak W. Momin of TMC, Rupert Momin of NPP and Chireng Peter Marak of INC in which voters clearly said to this writer that all three are head to head while the other two candidates are way behind.
In 38- Mendipathar AC the fiercest struggle for votes was among Marthon J. Sangma of NPP, Subroto G. Marak of UDP and Ferdinand D. Sangma of TMC. Voters said any of them may emerge the winner. While the other three contestants Sengnab Momin of BJP, Tim Jim K. Momin of INC and Elbert Marak of GSP are trailing behind. In 39-Resubelpara AC the closest contest is between Timothy Dalbot Shira of NPP, Rinaldo K. Sangma of TMC and Tweel K. Marak of INC. The other three candidates are lagging behind.
In Bajengdoba AC there are seven candidates vying for the seat but the real contest is among Pongseng Marak of NPP, Brigady Napak Marak of INC and Tengrak R. Marak of TMC. According to many voters including senior local political pundits, Pongseng has an edge over others but his performance in the House during the last five years was abysmal.
In 41-Songsak AC we have Dr. Mukul Sangma of TMC, Champion R. Sangma of INC and Nihim D. Shira of NPP as candidates who are in the front line. But voters told this writer that Dr. Mukul still has an advantage because the votes of the latter are widely divided. Moreover, the votes of the other two candidates are split. In 42-Rongjeng AC, Jim M. Sangma of NPP and Sengnam N. Marak of TMC are head to head but according to many voters who want to remain anonymous, Jim Sangma has an edge over Sengnam and the other four candidates. But his past performance both in the Assembly and outside has nothing much to show.
Proceeding towards 44-Raksamgre AC there are six candidates vying for this seat. According to local residents and many voters, there is no outstanding candidate who outshines others in important aspects of public services. However, many feel that Benedict R. Marak of BJP, Limison D. Sangma of NPP and Dr. Prabir D. Sangma of TMC are in the front line but they further qualify that Benedict is a better candidate than Limison because Limison has proven to be a non-effective MLA within and outside the House in the past.
Coming to the plain belt beginning from 45-Tikrikilla AC there are six candidates of whom Dr. Mukul Sangma of TMC is the most prominent of them all. Moreover, all communities of this constituency came together to request him to contest for election from the constituency to get progress and development because they told this writer that the previous MLAs did very little to take it forward. However, Rohinath Barchung of BJP and Jimmy D. Sangma of NPP are trying their best to challenge him in this mixed community Assembly segment. Moreover, another three contestants are in the fray to try their luck this time round.
Again in the plain area in 46-Phulbari AC there are six candidates and prominent contestants among them are Abu Taher Mondal of NPP and S G Estmatur Mominin of TMC. But the two other candidates are quite important challengers who may throw surprises in the hustings like Edmund K. Sangma of BJP and Sailendra R. Sangma of INC. However, there are another two who may add colour and wider choice to the voters who may have different preferences to the tired old faces.
In another plain belt constituency of 47- Rajabala AC there are six candidates. However, voters there are familiar with Ashahel D. Shira of UDP and Md. Abdus Saleh of NPP. However, with the entry of Md. Rahman Kazi of TMC the contest for the seat has changed. It has become, in fact, more interesting. At first it seems the close contest is of the first two mentioned candidates but now the close contest is among three. However, the other three contestants will give the three a good run for their time, money and energy. Again in the plain area, we have the 48-Selsella AC where the close contest is between Ferlin C A Sangma of BJP, Agassi R. Marak of TMC and Arbinstone B. Marak of NPP. Many voters have expressed openly that anyone of the three will emerge to be a winner. Other four candidates who are vying for the seat provide better alternatives for voters to choose from.
Back to the hill areas of Garo Hills, we come to 49-Dadenggre AC. Here we have five candidates – James Sangma of NPP, Ripa M. Sangma of TMC and Chesterfield Sangma of INC who are in the front line. The other two are not far behind but majority respondents of this segment felt that James Sangma’s performance during the previous years of his tenure was dismal, but somehow he will make his comeback, they said.
In 50-North Tura AC there are six candidates vying for this seat. The well known names to the voters are Billykid A. Sangma of the Congress, Thomas A. Sangma of NPP and somewhat known name is Dr. Pilne A. Sangma of UDP. However, the other three names may not be well known by the voters but during the last few months their names are quite known to the voters to enable them to make a conscious choice at the time of elections. If the voters are to be believed the real contest is between Billykid of INC and Thomas of NPP.
In South Tura AC there are five candidates. The well known names are Conrad Sangma of NPP, Bernard N. Marak of BJP and John Leslee K. Sangma of UDP. The other two are also from popular parties, Richard M. Marak of TMC and Brenzield Ch. Marak of INC. Here voters have shown great interest in the election and many are excited that anything can happen including surprise at the outcome on counting day. But still many are resigned to the ultimate fate that a chief ministerial candidate cannot lose.
Now about to slip into the plain area, in 52-Rangsakona AC we have six candidates. Five names are familiar to voters here, Zenith M. Sangma of TMC, Sophie R. Marak of BJP, Edmund S. Sangma of INC, Subir Marak of NPP and Bipul Ch. Sangma of UDP. Voters still believe that in an open fierce contest Zenith will still manage to romp home. Now in the plain area, in 53-Ampati AC there are only four candidates – Miani D. Shira of TMC, Premananda Koch of BJP, Uttora Guri Sangma of INC and Stevie M. Marak of NPP. Many respondents who replied to this writer said that Miani Shira can still manage to return for another term despite stiff contests by BJP and NPP candidates. In 54-Mahendraganj AC though there is stiff contest from Sayeedullah Nongrim of INC and Sanjay A. Sangma of NPP and a strong pull by Tingku N. Marak of BJP many voters there felt that Dikkanchi D. Shira can still emerge the winner.
In 55-Salmanpara AC, Winnerson D. Sangma of TMC will still have an edge over four strong candidates Boston Marak of BJP, Sinbath Ch. Marak of INC, Ian Botham K. Sangma of NPP and Ronald Rikman Sangma of UDP. In partly hill areas, in 56- Gambegre AC, many political pundits of West Garo Hills told this writer that Saleng A. Sangma of INC will wrestle the seat from six other contestants because he performed well both in the Assembly and also in his constituency.
In 57- Dalu AC there is a maximum number of nine candidates in all. The voters of this constituency are confused about whom to vote because there are too many choices. However, it is a blessing for them if they want to change the MLA who did not perform well in the last five years. But usually in this type of situation, the sitting MLAs take maximum advantage of. In this confused atmosphere, those who stand to benefit are Akki A. Sangma of BJP, Sengkal A. Sangma of TMC, Roger Benny A. Sangma of INC, Brenning A. Sangma of NPP and Kennethson Sangma of UDP. Many people in Dalu have expressed that the TMC and NPP candidates are head to head here but Akki A. Sangma will not back out.
Jumping to the eastern international border side, in 58-Rongara-Siju AC the real contest is between Rakkam A. Sangma of NPP, Rophul S. Marak of INC and Dr. Rajesh M. Marak of TMC. But Calis G. Momin of BJP and Teseng A. Sangma of UDP are quite strong in attracting voters to their side and by no means can they be counted out. Again in the western border side, in 59-Chokpot AC, Lazarus M. Sangma of TMC is a well known personality there. As could be seen during the last five years he has performed very well in the Assembly and even outside. However Sengchim A. Sangma of NPP, Karak R. Sangma of INC and Novembirth Ch. Marak of BJP are very strong contenders for the seat. Voters will have to wait for the counting day to decide the winner of the five.
Now let us move again to the eastern side in the capital of South Garo Hills District and the last Assembly segment of the State, 60-Bagmara AC. Here Samuel M. Sangma of BJP has done very well in his calculation by joining this party. However his rivals like Satto R. Marak of NPP, Alphonse Ch. Sangma of INC and Saljagringrang Marak are ever ready to challenge him for the seat. According to Baghmara voters and NGO activists, there is no clear winner as of now. The stiffest opponents to Samuel are his NPP and TMC rivals.
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