Tura: In Meghalaya, the big election battle was Sangma versus Sangma – two families that dominate state politics. The feeling is that even though they are rivals, both were trying to keep the BJP at a distance. However, recently there have been whispers that post election results, anything can happen! As someone said, let’s see who wins the Garo Hills Game of Thrones!
Chief Minister Mukul Sangma of the Congress is the head of one Sangma side. The rival side is of the late Purno Agitok Sangma of the Congress, a former Chief Minister, who was also Lok Sabha Speaker and founded his own National People’s Party or NPP.
Now, the swords are back in their sheaths and the curtains have come down on Meghalaya Assembly elections, 2018. With the fates of candidates sealed in ballot boxes on Tuesday, the political parties are now waiting for Saturday, the counting day.
The politically alive Garo hills witnessed a high-voltage campaign with Mukul Sangma, Congress leader and incumbent chief minister, and Conrad K. Sangma, chief of National People’s Party (NPP), single-handedly steering the elections in Garo hills.
The 2018 Assembly election was clearly a battle of the two Sangmas. Mukul is in the fray in two constituencies, Ampati, in South West Garo Hills district, and Songsak in East Garo Hills. Conrad, the Tura MP, is not in the fray but he made every effort to reach out to the electorate.
Till counting day dawns, Conrad, after voting at Boldoka Lower Primary School at Selsella in West Garo Hills district, left for New Delhi to meet his six-year-old daughter Amara, who studies there under the care of a family member. He wants to bring her back on March 2. His wife Mehtab Chandee stayed back in Tura with their second daughter, who was born in December last year.
Mukul remained in his constituency. He voted at Chengkompara Lower Primary School at Ampati with his wife Dikkanchi D. Shira and their two daughters.
The NPP candidate for South Tura constituency, Agatha K. Sangma, who is Conrad’s sister and a former Union minister, voted at Walbakgre Lower Primary School.
The NPP candidate for North Tura constituency Thomas A. Sangma, a former Rajya Sabha MP, voted at Government Boy’s Higher Secondary School, Tura.
In 2013, PA Sangma’s new party NPP got only two of Meghalaya’s 60 seats. But after taking charge, Conrad Sangma has steered the NPP to a position his father would be proud of. He even got five legislators from the Congress.
“Our father is our inspiration and it is his vision that our party takes forward. But with changing times, we have also changed our electoral strategy a bit. After taking charge of the party, Conrad has brought in a few things in the party which our father could not,” Agatha Sangma, who is contesting at South Tura seat, told NDTV.
Both Conrad and Mukul said they had done their best to put the vision of their respective parties before the people and hoped for a positive mandate.