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Congress win by-polls in Meghalaya
Correspondent SHILLONG, MAR 2:
Published on 2 Mar. 2009 11:43 PM IST
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Ahead of Lok Sabha elections, the opposition Congress Monday wrested the Umroi seat from ruling United Democratic Party (UDP) in the by-elections held recently. Congress candidate Stanly Wiss Rymbai defeated UDP’s George B Lyngdoh by a margin of 446 votes. Hill State People’s Democratic Party, an important ally of the UDP-led Meghalaya Progressive Alliance, came a distant third in the by-poll. Rymbai polled 11,773 votes of the 27,136-strong electorate, which exercised its franchise. UDP candidate George B Lyngdoh secured 11,327 votes, while HSPDP candidate Erwin Syiem Sutnga and lone woman Independent candidate Phrina Warjri bagged 601 and 207 votes respectively. With this win, Congress, which has now emerged as the single largest party in the 60-member House, has increased its tally from 25 to 26, and added strength of 27 in the Congress-led Meghalaya United Alliance. This morale-boosting victory for the Congress may affect the stability of the MPA which has a wafer margin. In fact, the Congress required just four more legislators to tip the balance in their favor but failed to sway any so far. “We will openly play a constructive role from our present opposition, but if the government falls on its own, the congress will take some steps on its own to save the situation, if that occasion arises”, leader of opposition and congress leader DD Lapang said. The by-election was necessitated due to the demise of former Chief Minister and UDP legislator E K Mawlong on October 18. However, chief minister Donkupar Roy said the defeat of the ruling United Democratic Party in the Umroi by-election will have no impact on the coalition Meghalaya Progressive Alliance (MPA) government. “We will analyse what went wrong in the Umroi (assembly) by-election and our defeat will have no impact on the government”, Roy said. Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), which is backing the coalition government, reiterated its stand to stick with the alliance till the end of term. “Losing Umroi won’t have any impact or affect this coalition government. We have made an agreement and we will stick to that”, former Lok Sabha speaker and NCP legislator Purno A Sangma said. The Donkupar Roy-led MPA government is supported by NCP (15), United Democratic Party (10), Hill State People’s Democratic Party (2), one each from Khun Hynniewtrep National Awakening Movement and BJP and four Independent legislators.

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