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Ardent banks on HSPDP ticket

Shillong, Jan. 7: Nongkrem legislator Ardent Miller Basaiawmoit today said he will contest the Assembly polls on a Hill State People’s Democratic Party (HSPDP) ticket.

“I have decided that I will seek re-election from Nongkrem on a HSPDP ticket,” Basaiawmoit, who was suspended from the United Democratic Party (UDP), told reporters.

Last month, the legislator’s supporters had pledged their allegiance to the HSPDP, led by veteran legislator Hoping Stone Lyngdoh.

The UDP, which is a coalition of the Meghalaya United Alliance (MUA) government, had suspended Basaiawmoit for his alleged nonconformity to party directives, including his disagreement to the party’s allocation of tickets to non-indigenous candidates.

It had also announced its decision to field former legislator Draishon Kharshiing from Nongkrem.

Further, Basaiawmoit said he would be tendering his resignation as a UDP member soon.

At the same time, he appealed to smaller parties like the HSPDP, Khun Hynniewtrep National Awakening Movement and the Meghalaya Democratic Party to have an understanding during the elections in order to become an alternative to the Congress and UDP.

“People are dejected with both the Congress and the UDP. Hence, smaller parties should come and work together to become an alternative,” he said.

HSPDP plea: The HSPDP today asked the Election Commission to revert to manual voting while alleging that the electronic voting machines (EVMs) are open to tampering.

The plea was made before the commission officials who arrived here today to review the poll preparations.

“The EVMs, whether improved or otherwise, being man-made, are opened to tampering, malfunctioning and are human-controlled, giving room for manoeuvring with motives prejudiced against other candidates in the fray for the same seat,” the HSPDP president said in a petition to the commission.

He said Meghalaya should revert to the manual voting system to ensure transparency in elections. The party wanted the counting of votes to be held on the same day, as soon as voting concludes.

It also appealed to the commission to empower the traditional institutions of the state to act as a deterrent against money and muscle-power.

The HSPDP also wanted the commission to prescribe the minimum qualifications for contesting the elections.

Lyngdoh also raised the issue of voters in villages along the inter-state boundary who are genuine voters within Meghalaya, and said they should not be intimidated and stopped by any means from exercising their franchise.

The commission members promised that the matter would be looked into, so that such voters will be able to cast their votes in Meghalaya without fear.


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