The National People’s Party (NPP) celebrated a grand victory over the Congress as the party won two of the three by-elections in the state, the results of which were announced today.
While the NPP secured wins in Rajabala and Mawryngkneng, two seats that had been held by the Congress before their respective MLAs passed away, the NPP’s ally in the Meghalaya Democratic Alliance, the United Democratic Party (UDP), surged to victory in Mawphlang where former star Indian international footballer Eugeneson Lyngdoh succeeded his father to the seat.
Pyniaid Sing Syiem of the NPP bagged Mawryngkneng, defeating Highlander Kharmalki of the Congress by 1,816 votes.
Syiem garnered 14,177 votes, while Kharmalki secured 12,361, according to the Election Commission.
Lyngdoh, meanwhile, smashed his nearest rival Kennedy C. Khyriem of the Congress.
The ex-footballer, whose late father Syntar Klas Sunn had won in 2018 by fewer than 1,000 votes, polled 13,285 votes, while the Congress candidate got 8,884. Here the NPP did not do all that well, netting only 5,103 votes for its nominee Lamphrang Blah.
Abdus Saleh became MLA for the fourth time after the NPP won the Rajabala by-election with a margin of 1,927 votes against the Congress’ Hasina Yasmin Mondal and the UDP’s Ashahel D. Shira.
Counting began at 8 am with Saleh leading through all nine rounds to emerge the winner in what was a very interesting by-poll. The verdict, after counting all nine rounds, was reached by about 11:30am.
There were five candidates in the fray, with the BJP’s Kingston B. Marak and independent candidate Carla Sangma completing the list.
Saleh got a total of 11,812 votes from a total of 29,861 casted. He was followed by Hasina, who secured 9,885 votes. One of the front runners, Shira came a distant third with 7,228. The BJP secured a meagre 329 while Carla received 253 votes. A total of 174 voters picked the None of the Above (NOTA) option.
“The people have made their choice by ensuring victory for our candidates Abdus Saleh in Rajabala and Pyniaid Sing Syiem in Mawryngkneng. This is a victory of our people. My gratitude to all those who contributed to this big win!” Chief Minister Conrad K Sangma exclaimed on social media.
Speaking about Rajabala specifically, Sangma said, “In 2013 we only got 400 votes, while in 2018 we got 4,800. This time we crossed the 11,000 mark. There was great response from the people for the pro-development work that this government is doing. In all three seats the MDA candidates have won, which is a clear mandate for the work that the government is doing.”
With the by-poll results, the ruling NPP’s strength has increased to 23 in the 60-member Meghalaya Assembly.
The opposition Congress’ strength in the house has correspondingly reduced to 17 from 19.
Lyngdoh’s father, while an independent, had become an ‘associate member’ of the UDP after being elected in 2018, so the Mawphlang win is akin to a hold for the party.