April 13, 2014

MEGHALAYA & LOK SABHA 2014


WHO WILL WIN THE 'LAND OF CLOUDS'?


If the 2013 state election results are to go by, the Congress is all set to win the two seats in Meghalaya (Link). Early last year as the state went to polls, many were expecting that the NPP formed by former Lok Sabha Speaker P A Sangma after walking out of the NCP would significantly dent the INC's chances. However, the incumbent CM Mukul Sangma ensured that nothing of this sort would happen. Not only did the grand old party win, its tally grew from 25 to 29, just one short of a simple majority on its own. Sangma's former outfit the NCP as well as his new party - the NPP both were reduced to 2 seats each. In fact, other smaller outfits including the HSPDP and the UDP(M) did well comparatively. In fact, as many as 13 independents too made the cut. Against this back drop, the INC seems to be the front runner. However, can Sangma still make a come back. Lets see if we can find some answers.

ISSUES

(1) The political scenario in the state: With the state going to polls barely a year ago, the results of the 2013 elections are expected to have a tremendous bearing on this year's Lok Sabha polls too. Having come so close to forming the government on its own, the INC will be hoping to win the two seats. Although his party failed to do well on debut, writing off the nine time MP P A Sangma could prove to be a big mistake. With many regional players not contesting, the game seems to be different. The principal Opposition in the assembly - the UDP-M has put up one candidate whereas outfits like the Hill State People's Democratic Party (HSPDP) and the Garo National Council (GNC) have decided not to contest at all.

CONTENDERS

(1) Congress: The INC is confident that the performance of its CM Mukul Sangma will help it replicate the success of 1998. It has renominated former Union Minister Vincent H Pala from Shillong whereas it has fielded Daryl William Ch Momin against the NPP chief. The Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) too has pledged its support to the INC

(2) National People's Party (NPP): The former Speaker in the Lower House of the Parliament Purno Agitok Sangma is seeking a tenth term from Tura. In the last polls, this seat was represented by his daughter Agatha Sangma who won on a NCP ticket and was also a junior minister in the UPA II cabinet for some time.

(3) United Democratic Party - Meghalaya (UDP-M): The principal opposition in the assembly the UDP-M has fielded its senior leader Paul Lyngdoh from Shillong.

PAST PERFORMANCES

Except for 1998 when it swept the state, the Congress has won a single seat in the other four of the last five Lok Sabha polls. Its partner in the UPA - the NCP won a seat in 2009 and a decade earlier in 1999. The TMC opened its account in 2004 when former Speaker P A Sangma won his parliamentary seat.

Political Party
2009
2004
1999
1998
1996
Congress
1
1
1
2
1
Nationalist Congress Party (NCP)
1
-
1
-
-
Trinamool Congres (TMC)
-
1
-
-
-
Independent
-
-
-
-
1

MY PREDICTIONS

I expect the ruling Congress which swept the state polls in 2013 to win one or even both the seats from here. Considering the fact the Sagma has already won from Tura multiple times. As such, one cannot rule out the fact that his NPP is a strong player.

Political Party
Expected Seats
1
Congress (INC)
1-2
2
National People's Party (NPP)
0-1

WATCH OUT

(1) End of the road for Sangma? He is perhaps the most well known political figure from the entire North-East. Over the last ten years that I have followed politics, PurnoaSangma has been in the news on various occasions. In 2004, he split from the NCP over its decision to ally with the Sonia Gandhi led Congress. The decision backfired as the INC led coalition surprisingly won the national elections held that year. Five years down the line, his daughter was inducted in the UPA II as a Minister of State. In 2012, he left the NCP again, this time in his bid to become the first tribal President of the country. He failed again and then formed the NPP. In the last state polls, the new party was virtually finished; his son and the Leader of Opposition in the previous assembly Conrad Sangma too had to bite the dust. As such, a lot will depend on his performance in the 2014 Lok Sabha polls. A victory would see him make a strong come back whereas a defeat would pull the curtains on a glorious career.

Other posts in this series:
(1) Karnataka & Lok Sabha 2014 (Link)
(2) Rajasthan & Lok Sabha 2014 (Link)
(3) Maharashtra & Lok Sabha 2014 (Link)
(4) Goa & Lok Sabha 2014 (Link)
(5) Kerala & Lok Sabha 2014 (Link)
(6) Assam & Lok Sabha 2014 (Link)
(7) Tripura & Lok Sabha 2014 (Link)
(8) Haryana & Lok Sabha 2014 (Link)
(9) Chhattisgarh & Lok Sabha 2014 (Link)
(10) Jammu Kashmir & Lok Sabha 2014 (Link)
(11) Madhya Pradesh & Lok Sabha 2014 (Link)
(12) Telangana & Lok Sabha 2014 (Link)
(13) Bihar & Lok Sabha 2014 (Link)
(14) Jharkhand & Lok Sabha 2014 (Link)
(15) Sikkim & Lok Sabha 2014 (Link)
(16) Arunachal Pradesh & Lok Sabha 2014 (Link)
(17) Nagaland & Lok Sabha 2014 (Link)
(18) Manipur & Lok Sabha 2014 (Link)
(19) Mizoram & Lok Sabha 2014 (Link)
(20) Delhi & Lok Sabha 2014 (Link)
(21) Uttarakhand & Lok Sabha 2014 (Link)
(22) Himachal Pradesh & Lok Sabha 2014 (Link)
(23) Gujarat & Lok Sabha 2014 (Link)
(24) Punjab & Lok Sabha 2014 (Link)
(25) Bengal & Lok Sabha 2014 (Link)
(26) Odisha & Lok Sabha 2014 (Link)
(27) Tamil Nadu & Lok Sabha 2014 (Link)
(28) Andhra & Lok Sabha 2014 (Link)
(29) Uttar Pradesh & Lok Sabha 2014 (Link)