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Winner takes it all today

Shillong, Feb. 27: Tomorrow the winner will take it all, after the verdict for the battle for Meghalaya is declared.

On Saturday, a spectacular 88.06 per cent turnout was recorded in the elections to the ninth state Assembly. Altogether 13,05,439 general electors out of the total 15,02,509 across 2,485 polling stations located under 60 constituencies in 11 districts had come out to exercise their franchise.

Of the 7,43,309 male and 7,59,200 female voters, 6,33,818 (85.27 per cent) male and 6,71,621 (88.46 per cent) female electors took part in the elections.

Around 17,225 postal ballots were also received, taking the tally of votes cast to 13,22,664.

The mood in all the candidates’ camps is upbeat as no nominee, before the results are declared, would come out and declare that he/she would be vanquished by his/her opponent.

Since Saturday, candidates have been busy calculating the number of votes received from each polling station.

Based on these rough calculations, some candidates have already projected themselves as the winner.

Unfortunately, in this electoral game, there will be only 60 winners and the remaining 285 candidates will be the losers. It is not like the Olympics where even the third best is crowned with a bronze medal.

Some might even forfeit their security deposit, which was mandatory to put aside during the time of filing of nominations. To ensure that the security deposit is reimbursed, a candidate has to secure one-sixth of the total valid votes polled.

Considering the large turnout of voters on Saturday, it would not come as a shocker if hundreds of candidates forfeit their cash — a mere Rs 5,000 for Scheduled Tribe candidates and Rs 10,000 for others.

As all the results will be known by noon, there will be celebrations galore in the residences of the unknown 60 winners, and the celebrations are likely to continue until the formation of a new government.

Although it is just another game of politics, the winner will reap the entire harvest of polls. But while the celebrations hold centrestage, another game will begin — the intricate game of government formation.

In case a fractured mandate emerges tomorrow, all eyes will turn to Raj Bhavan where governor R.S. Mooshahary will use his discretionary powers in choosing who should be invited to form the new government. Usually, political parties and alliances are expected to meet the governor to stake claim to power, depending on the intricate numbers game.

Tomorrow will also be a pointer as to where Meghalaya is heading in the next five years —whether the electorate will get a strong and stable government or a fragile coalition with many governments and several chief ministers.

The answers to such questions will be known tomorrow when the numbers recorded in the electronic voting machines are counted.


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