Santa Mary Shylla of the NPP became the first female MLA from Jaintia Hills since the creation of Meghalaya.
Shylla, who contested from Sutnga-Saipung constituency in East Jaintia Hills, secured 16,974 votes and defeated state Congress president and Shillong MP Vincent H Pala, who got 15,146 votes, and sitting MLA Shitlang Pale, who got 10,453 votes.
However, women’s representation in the new Assembly will be smaller than that of the outgoing legislature.
Miani D Shira (TMC) in Ampati and M Ampareen Lyngdoh (NPP) in East Shillong were both victorious but there were defeats for incumbent legislators Ferlin CA Sangma (BJP) in Selsella and Dikkanchi D Shira (TMC) in Mahendraganj.
There was also no success for other big female names, such as Sadhiarani M Sangma of the TMC in Gambegre (she is the wife of outgoing Rangsakona MLA Zenith Sangma) and former cabinet minister Deborah Marak of the Congress in Williamnagar. A new entrant, Dr Jasmine Lyngdoh of the NPP, is Ampareen’s sister and the daughter and sister of two late politicians but she too was defeated.
Grace Mary Kharpuri (NPP) came extremely close to victory in Shella but fell short by a few hundred votes.
Ampareen’s victory – this time under the NPP’s banner – could mean that we see at least one woman back in the cabinet, which has been a male-only area for the past five years. With her standing and experience, she could well be in line for a ministerial berth.
Only 36 (just under 10 per cent) of the 369 candidates across the 59 constituencies that went to the polls were women even though female voters outnumbered their male counterparts 10,92,396 to 10,68,801.
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