The assembly election in Meghalaya was held on February 27, which registered 75 per cent polling with more than 3.5 lakh of the 18.09 lakh voters casting their votes. Altogether, 361 candidates are in the fray for 59 seats in the state which has been ruled by Congress for past nine years.
While the Congress hopes to retain the government, it is facing the BJP, which had launched an aggressive campaign in the state with its top leaders like Amit Shah, Rajnath Singh camping in the state, followed by regular rallies from Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Exit polls hinted at the party making significant gains in the elections.
BJP, this time is fighting the election alone, despite its history of partnering with regional parties in the Assam and Manipur elections in 2016 and 2017. The National People’s Party (NPP), founded by former Lok Sabha Speaker late Purno A Sangma in 2013, which is an ally of the BJP at the Centre, is also fighting alone and has fielded 52 candidates against 60 of the Congress. The BJP, which is optimistic about winning a majority, has fielded candidates in only 47 of the 60 constituencies.
The ruling Congress, which had won 29 seats in the 2013 elections, is facing a challenge from a buoyant BJP after the latter’s successes in Assam, Manipur and Arunachal Pradesh. The Congress, in power in Meghalaya for the last 10 years, has fielded 59 candidates. The chief minister is contesting from two seats. Although the BJP drew a blank in 2013, it has put up candidates in 47 seats, including four MLAs of the current House who joined the party last month.
(With inputs from PTI)