Chief Minister and veteran Congress leader Mukul Sangma will be contesting from two assembly seats — Ampati and Songsak – for the February 27 elections to the 60-member Meghalaya assembly.
Dr Sangma is the second political leader from the state to contest from two assembly seats after Hill State People’s Democratic Party leader (late) Hoping Stone Lyngdoh, had successfully contested from two Assembly seats – the erstwhile Parïong (now Mawthadraishan) and Nongstoiñ in the 1988 elections.
“I have been a legislator for five consecutive terms and chief minister of Meghalaya. My decision to contest from Songsak is purely to bring equitable development in the state,” Dr Sangma said.
Declaring the first list of 57 candidates for the 60 assembly seats, the Congress’ screening committee headed by Congress leader Oscar Fernandes, however denied party ticket to its sitting party legislator Bluebell Sangma, who won the by-election from Chokpot assembly constituency.
“After reviewing the ground report that there is an anti-incumbency wave against Ms Bluebell, the party decided that it should filed a candidate who has the winning capability,” State Congress president Celestine Lyngdoh told UNI.
Prominent candidates in the first list include home minister H D R Lyngdoh, public works department minister, Martin M Danggo, labour minister Amapreen Lyngdoh, forest minister Clement Marak, urban affairs minister R V Lyngdoh, public health engineering minister Celestine Lyngdoh, education minister Deborah C Marak and excise minister Zenith M Sangma.
Assembly Speaker Abu Taher Mondal, former chief minister Salseng C Marak, former Speaker Charles Pyngrope, former minister Shitlang Pale, incumbent chief executive member of Jaiñtia Hills Autonomous District Council also figured in the list.
On the other hand, Congress leader Vincent H Pala said that the party is yet to declare the names of three candidates in assembly constituencies — Pynthorumkhrah, South Shillong and Khliehriat – to allow more prospect candidates to apply for the Congress ticket.
“We will be declaring the name of these candidates in these three assembly seats in a week’s time,” Mr Pala said.
Pynthorumkhrah constituency was represented by former Congress legislator A L Hek who has gone back to the BJP.
Other prominent names include two retired bureaucrats Jopthiaw Lyngdoh, Himalayan Muktan Shangpliang, former additional advocate general W Humphrey D Syngkon, George B Lyngdoh son of former chief minister E K Mawlong.