Polling for lone Meghalaya Rajya Sabha seat on Friday

Shillong, Jun 18 (AGENCIES) | Publish Date: 6/18/2020 1:53:46 PM IST

Polling for the lone Rajya Sabha seat from Meghalaya will be held on Friday with the ruling National People’s Party (NPP) candidate Dr. Wanwei Roy Kharlukhi poised to win the elections despite Opposition Congress putting up a straight fight through its candidate Kennedy Cornelius Khyriem.

The lone Khun Hynniewtrep National Awakening Movement (KHNAM) legislator, Adelbert Nongrum, however, has declared to abstain from voting.

Nevertheless, six political parties’ including an Independent legislator supporting the NPP-led Meghalaya Democratic Alliance (MDA) government have reaffirmed their support to Dr. Kharlukhi who is the consensus candidate of the ruling alliance.

“All political parties and legislators supporting the MDA government have expressed their support for Dr Kharlukhi. Once again we are thankful to all the MDA partners and we are confident of winning the Rajya Sabha election,” Chief Minister Conrad Sangma said.

The MDA has 41 members including two BJP members in the 60-members House Meghalaya Assembly. The opposition Congress has 19 members.

Sangma, who is also the NPP national president, termed Nongrum’s decision to abstain from voting as his “individual decision”.

The KHNAM legislator said his decision to desist from voting is in protest against the lone NPP Lok Sabha member Agatha Sangma’s voting in favour of the controversial Citizenship Amendment Act.

“Nongrum has taken his individual stand and we respect his stand, but the decision to support Dr Kharlukhi was unanimous and we are confident of victory on June 19,” the Chief Minister reiterated.

The lone Rajya Sabha seat from Meghalaya fell vacant after the term of Congress leader,  Wansuk Syiem expired on April 12 this year.

Leader of Opposition in the Meghalaya Assembly, Dr. Mukul Sangma has said that the lone Rajya Sabha seat allotted to the state was of utmost importance even as he observed that it was a testing time for the state’s legislators.

The veteran Congress legislator also mentioned the differing stands of the Congress and the National People’s Party (NPP) on the contentious CAA, with the latter having voted in its favour in Parliament, and said that the state legislators would be demonstrating their stand during the voting on Friday.

Meanwhile, Meghalaya Chief Electoral Officer Frederick Roy Kharkongor said all steps are being taken to ensure that necessary safeguards as per protocol are in place.

“All COVID-19 containment arrangements in the polling station are being supervised by a senior nodal medical health officer deputed by the state government on the request of Election Commission of India to chief secretaries,” Kharkongor said, adding that his focus is to conduct the Rajya Sabha poll in a free, fair and safe manner.

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