GUWAHATI: Ruling congress is caught in bitter political battle in Meghalaya. Regional parties have emerged as the challenger to the 15 year Congressrule in the state.
Around 372 candidates are in fray for February 28 assembly polls out of this 32 are female candidates. The state has 60 member assembly.
In Meghalaya women have outnumbered men. Women voters in the state registered around 50.4 per cent of electorate.
Chief electoral officer (CEO) F R Kharkongor said the final voter list has 18, 30, 104 voters, of which 9, 23, 84 are women.
In revised electoral roll the names of 3, 27,595 voters were added and 8,276 names were deleted.
Rongjeng constituency in West Garo Hills district has the maximum candidates contesting, at least 11 candidates are contesting while a minimum of three candidates are contesting in Ampati.
Chief Minister, Mukul Sangma is contesting from Ampati and Songsak in East Garo Hills district. Counting of votes will take place on March 3.
Ruling Congressis battling anti-incumbency, the grand old party witnessed exodus of several leaders in the run up to the polls.
State’s economy has been hard hit following the National Green Tribunal banning the rat hole mining in Meghalaya. Rat hole mining is a practice unique to Meghalaya and coal miners in many areas are blaming ruling party for not doing anything in this regard.
UDP and National People’s Party are part of BJP floated platform of non-Congressparties, Northeast Democratic Alliance (NEDA) however these parties have refrained from any alliance for the assembly polls and fighting polls individually. UDP and Hill State People’s Democratic Party (HSPDP) have stitched pre poll alliance.
Opposition including BJP is attacking the Congressfor rising corruption and lack of development in the state.
In Christianity dominated Meghalaya, politicians are using biblical terms to attack the opponents.
Congresshas termed those parties associating with BJP as “Judas in operation”. BJP alleged that Congressis communalising the election.
AICC national spokesman Tom Vaddakan remarked that parties supporting BJP have sold their souls, bodies and compromised with the devil because of power.
Already Prime minister, Narendra Modi and Congresspresident Rahul Gandhi campaigned in the state.
Former Kerala chief minister Oommen Chandy campaigned in the state and said that Congresswill retain power in Meghalaya and this will boost the party in the Centre. “BJP is interfering in people’s rights on what to eat and what to wear”.
BJP is rerunning the Assam election slogan of “Change” in Meghalaya. Congressis contesting all the 60 seats while BJP has fielded candidates in 47 seats. NPP is contesting 53 seats, UDP has put candidates in 35 seats and HSPDP is contesting in 13 seats.
Political observers opined that Congressis facing stiff challenge from regional political parties. “Regional political parties have substantial improved their position in the state.”