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Hung verdict in council polls

- Congress emerges single largest party, JHADC gets first woman member

Shillong, Feb. 27: The Congress today emerged as the single largest party in both Khasi Hills autonomous district council (KHADC) and the Jaintia Hills autonomous district council (JHADC) in a hung verdict that also provided a glimmer of hope to regional political forces ahead of the Lok Sabha elections.

In the Khasi council, the Congress bagged 10 seats out of 29. The Hill State People’s Democratic Party (HSPDP) stood second with seven seats followed by the UDP with six seats and the Khun Hynniewtrep National Awakening Movement (KHNAM) with four. The NCP bagged one seat while there was a lone Independent winner.

In the 2009 polls, the Congress had bagged only eight seats while the UDP had won in 11 seats. The HSPDP and the KHNAM had won three and four seats respectively.

In the Jaintia Hills council, the Congress got 14 seats, one of which was decided by a draw of lots, the UDP bagged six seats while Independents managed to win in nine constituencies. The Jaintia Hills council also has 29 constituencies.

Five years back, among others, the Congress had bagged only 10 seats in the JHADC while the UDP had won in eight seats. Independents had then won in six constituencies. Following the results, the HSPDP, UDP and the KHNAM are expected to form an alliance to lead the executive committee in the Khasi council. The Congress is leading the outgoing executive committee. Talks are already on between the three regional political outfits to keep the Congress out of power.

In the Jaintia Hills council, the Congress, which is only one short of a simple majority, is likely to form the new executive committee along with Independents. However, the UDP is trying to cobble up an alliance with the Independents.

Victor Ranee of the Congress, who contested from Jirang constituency under the KHADC in Ri Bhoi district, own with the highest margin — 7,219. Ranee polled 11,382 votes while his rival Nosi Lyngdoh of the HSPDP polled 4,163 votes.

In the Jowai Central constituency under the JHADC, a draw of lots had to be conducted to decide the eventual winner. Awhai Andrew Shullai of the Congress and Kitboklang Nongtdu of the UDP polled 2,315 votes each.

West Jaintia Hills deputy commissioner Peter S. Dkhar said that Shullai was declared the winner after a draw of lots was conducted. The draw of lots was held with the consent of both the candidates, he said. This is the second time in Meghalaya that the winner had to be declared through other means, which heavily rely on luck.

Way back in 1988 during the Assembly polls, Chemberlin Marak, an Independent, and Roster M. Sangma of the Congress had polled 2,591 votes each from the then Kherapara constituency. Following the rules laid down in the People’s Representation Act, the returning officer held a toss and Marak called correctly, thereby, winning a seat in the Assembly.

Among the 27 Independent candidates who had contested in the KHADC polls, only James Sylliang, who contested from Mawhati constituency under Ri Bhoi district, emerged victorious.

Prominent winners are Pynshngainlang N. Syiem (Congress), H.D.R. Lyngdoh (Congress), Ardent Miller Basaiawmoit (HSPDP), Metbah Lyngdoh (UDP), H. Brolding Nongsiej (UDP), Process T. Sawkmie (KHNAM), Adelbert Nongrum (KHNAM), Sanbor Shullai (NCP), Moonlight Pariat (UDP), K.P. Pangniang (HSPDP) Among prominent losers are Remington Pyngrope (UDP), T.W. Chyne (UDP), Lambor Malngiang (Congress) and Hambertus Nongtdu (Congress).

The winners among women candidates are Teilinia Thangkhiew and Grace Mary Kharpuri (both HSPDP), Rona Khymdeit (UDP) in the KHADC and Violet Lyngdoh (UDP) in the JHADC. Violet Lyngdoh also became the first woman in the Jaintia Hills to have ever been elected to the JHADC.

Two former members of the proscribed HNLC, Banteidor Lyngdoh and James Sylliang, were elected to the KHADC.