New Delhi: Counting of votes began in the Northeastern states of Meghalaya, Tripura and Nagaland amidst unprecedented security on Thursday. The Assembly elections in the three states, having 60 seats each, were held February 14 and February 23.
The ruling Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) led Left Front is set to retain power for the fourth straight term in Tripura.
As per the latest results, it has won 34 seats and is leading in 14 others. The CPI could manage to win only one seat, while the Congress has won five seats and is leading in five other in the 60-member Assembly in Tripura.
By winning 35 seats, the CPI-M-CPI combine has easily crossed the halfway mark of 30 in the 60-member assembly.
Chief Minister Manik Sarkar, Finance Minister Badal Chowdhury and their cabinet colleagues have won by huge margins.
Former chief minister and Congress leader Samir Ranjan Barman and INPT (Indigenous Nationalist Party of Tripura), Congress’ ally, president and former militant leader Bijoy Kumar Hrangkhawl were among those trailing in their seats.
Meanwhile, Opposition leader in the outgoing assembly and Congress’ key leader Ratan Lal Nath, who was elected to the state assembly four times since 1993, is trailing in the Mohanpur assembly segment in western Tripura.
Manindra Reang of CPI(M) has defeated his Congress rival Gouri Sankar Reang by 3756 votes in Santirbazar seat.
However, both the ruling CPI-M led Left Front as well as the Congress-led opposition alliance are optimistic of forming the next government.
Among prominent candidates whose electoral fates would be decided are Chief Minister Manik Sarkar from Dhanpur, Finance Minister Badal Chowdhury from Hrishyamukh, Higher Education Minister Anil Sarkar from Pratapgarh, Industries and Commerce Minister Jitendra Chowdhury from Manu (ST).
The electoral fortunes of TPCC President Sudip Ray Barman from Agartala, Leader of the Opposition Ratan Lal Nath of Congress from Mohanpur and President of the Indigenous Nationalist Party of Tripura Bijay Hrankhwal from Ambassa would also be decided.
Over 2,500 officials, including counting supervisors and counting assistants, have been deployed for counting ballots in 60 halls at 17 venues.
In 2008, the Left Front registered a thumping victory. The CPI-M alone won 46 seats and partners Communist Party of India and Revolutionary Socialist Party secured respectively one and two seats. The Congress bagged 10 seats and the INPT one.
The Indian National Congress won five and is leading in 20 others in the election to the 60-member Meghalaya Assembly with Chief Minister Mukul Sangma, his wife D D Shira and his brother Zenith Sangma poised for a big win. Lone woman legislator Ampareen Lyngdoh retained her urban 16 East Shillong seat edging out her nearest rival and former deputy chief minister B M Lanong of the UDP by over 4000 votes.
Cabinet Ministers HDR Lyngdoh and Prestone Tynsong retained their Sohiong and Pynursla seats respectively.
Lyngdoh won by a margin of over 3000 votes over his lone rival and UDP candidate B Kharphuli while Tynsong is leading over his nearest rival and UDP candidate B Khongwar by almost 2000 votes.
The PA Sangma led National Peoples Party is yet to register any win.
The UDP, which had an alliance with the Congress in the outgoing Assembly, is leading in at least eight seats while the Independents are leading in 10 seats.
Carved out of Assam in 1972, Meghalaya has seen 23 chief ministers in a span of 41 years. Captain Williamson Sangma, who led the government for the first time, was the only one to ever lead a single-party government in the state. Since then, Meghalaya has seen fractured mandates, leading to volatile coalition governments
Prominent leaders among the total 345 candidates whose fate would be decided today are HSPDP President Hopingstone Lyngdoh, who had never lost a single election since Meghalaya attained statehood in 1972, besides four former Chief Ministers, including Mukul Sangma of the outgoing house.
The three other Chief Ministers are DD Lapang, who is also the state Congress President, S C Marak and United Democratic Party Chief Donkupar Roy.
Other prominent candidates are Mukul Sangma’s wife D D Shira, National Peoples Party chief and former Speaker P A Sangma’s two sons – Conrad and James.
The Congress fielded candidates in all 60 constituencies while the United Democratic Party (UDP) contested 50 seats.
In Nagaland, where counting of votes began at 8.00 am this morning amidst tight security, the Naga People’s Front (NPF) has won 21 seats and is leading in 9 other.
Congress, which is leading in three seats, has won three seaat so far. The NCP is moving strongly in 3 and has won two seats. Others have won 4 seats and leading in 5 seats.
Nagaland Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio has won from Northern Angami II seat by defeating his nearest Congress rival Kevise Sogotsu of Congress by 12,671 votes. Nagaland Congress PCC President S I Jamir has also tasted success from Dimapur II seat by defeating his nearest Independent rival Savi Liegise by 1,615 votes.
Among other prominent candidates who have won are- NCP candidate A Imtilemba Sangtam who defeated Congress rival Thrinimong in Longkhim Chare by 1459 votes. NPF EE Pangteang defeated Congress candidate Longang by 5281 votes in Moka constituency. NPF candidate P Longon defeated Congress candidate H Haiying by 3305 votes in Noklak seat.
NPF candidate C M Chang defeated NCP candidate Lima Onen Chang by 1092 votes from Noksen seat. NPF candidate R Tohanba defeated JD(U) candidate K Yimso Yimchunger by 2914 votes.
NPF candidate Vikho O Yhoshu defeated Congress candidate Nagakul by 4492 votes.
NPF candidate Kropol Vitsu defeated Congress rival K V Pusa by 5451 votes. NPF candidate C L John defeated Congress rival W Wangyuh by 7891 votes. NCP candidate L Khumo Khiamniungan defeated NPF candidate S Heno by 1307 votes. BJP candidate P Paiwang Konyak defeated NPF candidate Aloh by 3076 votes.
While Nagaland Peoples’ Front (NPF) – the main constituent of ruling Democratic Alliance of Nagaland (DAN) – is confident of securing the required majority, the Congress is trying to secure the support of Independents and other parties to form the new government. The NPF expects to win over 32 seats and the Congress at least 25 seats.
The NPF has a pre-poll alliance with the BJP and JD-U and the strength of DAN in the outgoing assembly is 35. In the 2008 polls, the NPF won 26 seats on its own while the Congress won 23.
A total of 2,600 electronic voting machines were used to conduct the polls in 2,023 polling stations. Re-polling was held at nine polling stations.