Pollsters Hint Hung Assembly in Meghalaya, Conrad Sangma's NPP Likely to Emerge as Single-largest Party
Pollsters Hint Hung Assembly in Meghalaya, Conrad Sangma's NPP Likely to Emerge as Single-largest Party
The ruling National People’s Party (NPP) in Meghalaya is likely to retain its position as the single-largest party in the state assembly, exit poll results indicated on Monday

Meghalaya is headed towards a hung assembly with the ruling National People’s Party (NPP) emerging as the single-largest party, according to exit poll predictions released after the one-phased elections today. The results will come out on March 2.

According to Axis My India exit poll results, the NPP will win 18-24 seats, followed by Congress getting 6-12 seats and BJP securing 4-8 seats.

Matrize also predicted NPP to fall short of the majority mark, securing 21-26 seats, while the TMC expected to take 8-13 seats, BJP to win 6-11 seats, Congress to get 3-6 seats and others to gain 10-19 seats.

The ETG has predicted NPP to secure 22 seats, the BJP 5 and Congress 3 seats, respectively.

The Jan ki Baat exit poll results have predicted an 11-16 seat win for NPP, followed by 6-11 seats by Congress, 3-7 seats by BJP and others getting 5-12 seats.

With the NPP failing to reach the 31-majority mark, the exit poll results have indicated a fractured mandate in the Meghalaya Assembly elections.

Chief Minister Conrad K Sangma is contesting from the South Tura constituency, where he is pitted against militant-turned-politician Bernard Marak, while TMC member Mukul Sangma is contesting from two seats, Songsak and Tikrikilla. His wife D D Shira is also in the fray.

What is a Hung Assembly?

Hung Assembly refers to a situation where no single political party or pre-existing coalition can gain an absolute majority of legislators in the state assembly. Unless parties agree to a power-sharing coalition or team up with independents to make the majority mark, re-polling is announced and conducted as soon as possible.

Meghalaya Trinamool Congress President Charles Pyngrope had predicted a hung assembly and said it is likely that the state will have a coalition government.

The NPP, which has been leading the ruling alliance for the last five years, is fighting alone against former ally BJP, opposition TMC, and other regional parties such as the United Democratic Party and People’s Democratic Front.

Days ahead of the polls, Senior National People’s Party (NPP) leader and spokesperson Dr M Ampareen Lyngdoh had hinted of “combination” if numbers are not clearly defined. “In a situation of post-election scenario, I don’t think emotions will be at play, emotionally I may like or dislike a particular party looking at whatever parameters but if the numbers are not clearly defined by the electorates you must expect any combination,” he had said.

Meanwhile, Meghalaya Pradesh Congress Committee (MPCC) working president Pynshngain N Syiem said barring the BJP, Congress is open to working with any political party. Syiem said political parties are having a rift with each other, adding “Congress is in a very neutral position where it can work with any other party, even with the NPP, but not the BJP.”

2018 Meghalaya Hung Assembly

In 2018, Congress emerged as the single largest party but failed to secure a majority in the 60-member assembly. The BJP, which won only 2 seats, joined hands with the National People’s Party (NPP) to form the government in the state.

For the 2023 state assembly elections, NPP supremo and chief minister Sangma announced his party would contest the polls alone. Trinamool Congress, which failed to open an account in the last polls, is also trying to make inroads in Meghalaya under the leadership of former Chief Minister Mukul Sangma.

Meghalaya Assembly Polling 2023

Polling concluded on Monday with 74.32 per cent of 21.6 lakh electors exercising their franchise. Polling began in 59 of the 60 assembly constituencies in the northeastern state at 7 am.

Voting across 3,419 polling stations in Meghalaya was reported to be peaceful, according to election officials, with minor issues of EVM malfunctioning. “Malfunctioning of EVMs came to the fore at a few polling booths, but those were later fixed. Polling is being held in a free and fair manner,” officials said.

Meghalaya had 183 polling stations under the “shadow zone”. In some of these areas, runners were used to conveying messages between the polling parties and the sector officers. A total of 264 police radio stations with 19 repeater stations were set up through the police network to cover these shadow areas, the EC noted.

In West Garo Hills district of Meghalaya, an ex-gratia amount of Rs 15 lakh was given to the family of a polling official who died in a road accident while on duty.

(With PTI inputs)

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