With the filing of nomination papers are over, screening and withdrawals of the same are also completed only 375 candidates are left in the elections’ fray. In fact official canvassing has already started even right from the announcement of the election schedule by the Election Commission of India (ECI) and prior to it house to house, pockets to pockets and village to village contacts were already made much before the elections announcement was made by the ECI.
The elections’ processes are almost half over except the most important part which is waiting to take place and that is that the 21.62 lakh voters will actually exercise their franchise on February 27 to be followed only by counting of votes on March 2nd and the declaration of results which are eagerly awaited on the same day.
As of now we are in the midst of dead heat canvassing when the election atmosphere was already heated up, intertwined by various election rallies in all 60 Assembly constituencies. The only high point of public discussions going on now is who is leading and winning from which Assembly segments.
Now let us turn to the most important sector of East Khasi Hills in which 17 Assembly segments are at stake. In 13-Mawryngkneng ST Assembly Constituency, the stiffest contest is between Pyniaid Sing Syiem of NPP, Osaphi S. Jyrwa of UDP, Banshanlang Lawai of TMC and Highlander Kharmalki of BJP. However, the real dead heat is between the first two candidates. In 14- Pynthorumkhrah AC, the stiffest fight is expected among Alexander Laloo Hek of BJP and Pynshngainlang Syiem of INC. However, Rocky Hek of NPP and Mayborn G. Lyngdoh of VPP cannot be dismissed right away.
In 15-Mawlai ST AC the closest contest is between Process T. Sawkmie of UDP, Teiborlang Pathaw of NPP and Marbud Dkhar of INC. But head to head are the first two. In 16-East Shillong ST AC, M. Ampareen Lyngdoh of NPP and Manuel Badwar of INC are head to head but voters of this constituency stated that Ampareen is slightly dented because of the “white ink” allegations. However, she is still slightly ahead of Manuel despite his clean image and his myriad merits in this high tech age. The disadvantage for Manuel was because has come a bit late in the East Shillong political field.
In 17- North Shillong ST AC the political atmosphere is very hazy with no candidate appearing to be ahead of any other. Talking to this writer, voters of this constituency including those who could read the political wind direction well, admitted that they could not assess the outcome here. However, they simply pointed out that the winner will emerge from among any of these – Dr. Aman Warr of the UDP, John Antonius Lyngdoh of the INC, Adelbert Nongrum of VPP and Mariahom Kharkrang of BJP.
In 18-West Shillong AC the winner may emerge from among Mohendro Rapsang of NPP, Paul Lyngdoh of UDP and Ernest Mawrie of BJP. However, the voters told this writer that the scale slightly leans towards Mohendro Rapsang. In 19-South Shillong AC, though there are five candidates in the fray, there are three who are actually racing faster and the three are Sanbor Shullai of BJP, Angela Rangad of IND (KAM) and Ian Andrew Nongkynrih of TMC but voters told this writer that as of now the faster one seems to be the first one but the second is not far behind.
In 20-Mylliem ST AC, it is going to be an interesting political field. The race for number one spot is going to be between Ronnie V. Lyngdoh of INC, Hamletson Dohling of NPP and Mitchell Wankhar of UDP. However, the rest of the candidates have to be content with having done well in running the race. In 21-Nongthymmai ST AC, the political race is quite interesting in which Charles Pyngrope of TMC will again race with former MLA of this same constituency Jemino Mawthoh of UDP. Who of them will carry the trophy or will it be snatched by any other five contenders who are almost of equal speed and stamina if not better.
In 22-Nongkrem ST AC, the field is not as famous as others in this sector but there are eight famous racers. But the most interesting racers of repute are Lambor Malngiang of UDP, Ardent M. Basaiawmoit of VPP and Dasakhiatbha Lamare of NPP. Many voters have their own predictions of who will win the trophy while other voters reserved their comments. In 23-Sohiong ST AC we have two former MLAs – Samlin Malngiang of NPP and Donkupar R. Lyngdoh of UDP. However, S. Osborne Kharjana of INC and a former officer of the Government of India has chosen to race against them. Many voters of this constituency predicted that any one of the three will win the Sohiong seat. But for the other three contestants, voters said they have attractive strong appeals and equal chances to win because they are equally powerful to garner votes. They said that they would prefer to wait till the announcement of the results on 2nd March.
In 24-Mawphlang ST AC, there are seven candidates though not great luminaries but attractive enough to voters of the constituency. Foremost among them are Mathew B. Kurbah of UDP, Auspicious Lyngdoh Mawphlang of PDF, Kennedy C. Khyriem of NPP and Dannyson Kurbah of INC. But the other three contestants are equally strong and can pull up great surprises not only to fellow candidates but to the voters themselves. These are Mawkordor Rynjah of TMC, Wossarroi Rani of BJP and Doristar Marbaniang of VPP.
Further south in 25-Mawsynram ST AC the prominent candidates are Himalaya Shangpliang of BJP, Ollan Singh Suin of UDP and Alvin Khyriem Sawkmie of NPP. According to many voters of this constituency, any of them may ultimately carry the trophy. However, other voters disagree with this prediction. They said that the other three – Vincent T. Sangma of TMC, Gopalstone Hynniewta of INC and Starfing Pdahkasiej of HSPDP may pull up a surprise. To the eastern side of 25-Mawsynram, in 26-Shella ST AC many voters told this writer that the real stiff contest is between Grace Mary Kharpuri of NPP and Balajied Kupar Synrem of UDP. However, as far as the other three contestants – Playness Khiewtam of TMC, Areena Hynniewta of BJP and Wellborn Bynnud of INC are concerned, many other voters said that they are offering stiff resistance to ensure that they are no pushovers. In fact, they said, they might throw a surprise on 2nd March.
In the eastern side of the previous constituency we have 27- Pynursla ST AC in which there are seven candidates contesting for the seat of whom two of them are former MLAs, Donkupar Massar and Prestone Tynsong. However, voters told this writer that the neck to neck contest is expected between Anthony J. Kongwang of UDP and Prestone Tynsong of NPP. They said that the rest of the contestants are mere vote splitters. To the western side of this constituency is the famous tourist destination, 28- Sohra ST AC constituency where there are seven candidates contesting for the seat. This constituency will witness mainly a triangular dead heat contest among Gavin Miguel Mylliem of PDF, Titosstarwell Chyme of UDP and Allan West Kharkongor of NPP. However, the other four candidates provide colourful wider choices to the voters who may badly want better changes for this dreary dry wet infertile rapid stony landed constituency.
Now jumping to the eastern-most front, we have the last East Khasi Hills District constituency, the 29-Mawkynrew ST AC in which there are seven candidates vying for this most unenviable undeveloped seat in the East Khasi Hills district even after 50 years of statehood. Here we have three former MLAs, Martle N. Mukhim of HSPDP, Remington Pyngrope of UDP and Banteidor Lyngdoh of PDF. There are four other candidates like Kansing Langsiang of NPP, Dondor Marbaniang of TMC, Counsellor Mukhim of BJP and Pynhunlang Nongrum of INC. The stiff contest is among the first three and Kansing Langsiang. However, the winner is anybody’s guess but the closest fight, many voters told this writer, will be between the eldest Martle and the younger Banteidor.
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