Six, including P.A. Sangma, file nominations in Meghalaya

Shillong, March 21: Six candidates, including former Lok Sabha speaker Purno Agitok Sangma and union minister Vincent H. Pala filed nomination papers Friday for the Lok Sabha elections in Meghalaya, an Election Commission official said.

Meghalaya has two parliamentary constituencies — Shillong and Tura — that will go to polls April 9.

Sangma, who returned to the national political scene by seeking the mandate from Tura parliamentary constituency, filed his papers as the National People’s Party (NPP) candidate before Returning Officer Pravin Bakshi.

“I fought nine elections from Tura. You know the results of the nine times and do your assessment,” Sangma told IANS, while exuding confidence of his return to the Lok Sabha for the tenth straight time.

Sangma’s foray into politics began in 1977 when he won the Lok Sabha elections from Tura on a Congress ticket.

Meghalaya’s opposition United Democratic Party, Garo National Council and the Bharatiya Janata Party have decided not to field their nominee, but instead extend support to Sangma.

He went on to win the Lok Sabha elections in 1984, 1991, 1996, 1998, 1999 and 2004 besides the by-election in 2006. In 2004, he contested as a Trinamool Congress candidate.

Congress candidate Daryl William Cheran Momin who is pitted against the veteran Garo political leader also submitted his nomination papers. Momin is the grandson of first Meghalaya chief minister, late Capt. Williamson A. Sangma.

“I am not at all sacred to take on Purno Sangma and the youth of Garo Hills are behind me to vote him (Sangma) out from Tura parliamentary seat,” he said.

Meanwhile, Pala, the sitting Congress MP, filed his nomination along with three other candidates from the Shillong parliamentary seat.

BJP candidate Shibun Lyngdoh, CPI candidate Richard D. Shabong and Independent candidate P.B.M. Basaiawmoit also submitted their nominations before the returning officer of Shillong, Sanjay K. Goyal.

Two regional political parties — Hill State People’s Democratic Party and Khun Hynniewtrep National Awakening Movement — have extended support to Basaiawmoit.

The total number of candidates who have filed their nomination papers for the two parliamentary seats in Meghalaya has reached eight with six candidates, including that of UDP candidate Paul Lyngdoh and Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) nominee Armerington Kharshiing from Shillong constituency and two from Tura constituency.

March 22 is the last date for candidates to submit their papers. Scrutiny of nomination papers will take place March 24 at 11 a.m. while the last date of withdrawal of candidature is March 26.