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Frontrunners confident of victory

Policemen stand guard at the secretariat in Shillong on Tursday. Picture by UB Photos

Shillong, May 15: Hours before the verdict is out, frontrunners are upbeat about their prospects and believe that the electorate would give them a seat in the Lok Sabha.

From the Congress to the BJP, the National People’s Party (NPP) to the United Democratic Party (UDP), the mood is buoyant.

Former Lok Sabha Speaker and NPP president Purno Agitok Sangma, who contested his 10th parliamentary elections from the Tura seat, is confident of regaining the ticket to New Delhi

“I am confident that I will emerge victorious,” Sangma, who, if he wins, would create a record of sorts of not having lost any parliamentary or Legislative Assembly election in his career, said from Tura.

However, the seasoned politician refused to get involved in the assumption that a Union ministerial berth awaits him if he and the BJP-led NDA emerge victorious tomorrow.

“I do not have any big role to play (in the new government), but I will definitely play a big role in Parliament,” the 66-year-old politician said.

The last time that Meghalaya had a Union cabinet minister was during UPA-I from 2004-2009 when P.R. Kyndiah held the DoNER and tribal affairs portfolios. From 2009-2012, Vincent H. Pala of the Congress and Agatha K. Sangma of the NCP were made Union ministers of state.

Like Sangma, sitting Congress MP from Shillong, Vincent H. Pala, and young Congress candidate from Tura, Daryl William Cheran Momin, also exuded confidence.

“I am confident of winning and retaining the seat and I expect I will secure 36 to 37 per cent votes out of the total votes polled,” Pala said.

His optimism comes amid the reported infighting within the Congress camp where some of the legislators did not campaign for him.

Momin said he was very confident of a victory against Purno Sangma tomorrow.

Independent candidate from Shillong, P.B.M. Basaiawmoit was also optimistic about his prospects. “I will emerge victorious,” he said.

While refusing to spell out whether he would align with the NDA, UPA or the third front in case he wins, Basaiawmoit said his allegiance would be with the side which accepts his programmes and policies.

Two regional political parties — Hill State People’s Democratic Party (HSPDP) and the Khun Hynniewtrep National Awakening Movement (KHNAM) — had backed Basaiawmoit.

UDP working president and legislator Paul Lyngdoh, who contested the elections, believed that the electorate would be prudent enough to choose the only recognised regional political party backed by a regional front (Northeast Regional Parties Front), and which is closely aligned with the NDA.

“We are very optimistic of winning, and we feel that the electorate had chosen the candidate with the longest innings in public service, and who has administrative experience,” Lyngdoh said.

While being optimistic about the NDA coming to power, the former student leader said the state Congress would face difficulties in the days ahead.

“The Congress is already a divided house. Its position is very shaky in the state, and with the UPA out of power, things will become more difficult for them,” he added.

The BJP, which had put up Shibun Lyngdoh as its candidate from the Shillong seat, is confident of springing a surprise tomorrow.

“The Congress was in disarray; the regional parties were not united. Hence, we are confident of sailing through,” BJP general secretary Dipayan Chakraborty said.

If the slogan Ab Ki Baar, Modi Sarkar turns into actuality, the state BJP is confident that the party would do no harm to its political rivals.

Reasserting what their prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi had stated in Amethi, Chakraborty said there would not be any badla (revenge), only badlav (change) for the betterment of Meghalaya and the country.