Agatha, Pala emerge victorious in Meghalaya

Shillong, May 23 (IANS) Former Union Minister and National People's Party (NPP) candidate Agatha Sangma has made her way back to national politics by winning the Tura Lok Sabha seat, while incumbent Congress MP Vincent Pala retained the Shillong seat on Thursday.

Agatha (38), who is the younger sister of Chief Minister Conrad Sangma and daughter of former Lok Sabha Speaker late Purno Sangma, defeated her nearest rival AND former Chief Minister Mukul Sangma of the Congress by a margin of 63,775 votes.

Agatha polled 3,03,848 votes while Mukul Sangma got 2,40,073 votes.

The NPP is an ally of the Bharatiya Janata Party-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA).

Former Union Minister and Congress leader Pala defeated his nearest rival and United Democratic Party (UDP) candidate Jemino Mawthoh by a thumping margin of 1,52,139 votes. Pala polled 4,19,232 votes while Mawthoh secured 2,67,093 votes.

The Congress has not won the Tura Lok Sabha seat ever since the late Purno Sangma parted ways with the party. The last time it won from Tura was when Purno Sangma won in 1998.

Agatha's victory has also established the fact that no other candidate could defeat the Sangma family from Tura so far.

"It was a very tough fight (contesting against a former Chief Minister) but it has been a very fruitful election. I want to thank everybody who spent so much time and energy for my campaign," Agatha told journalists in Tura.

Meanwhile, the NPP has increased its strength to 21 in the 60-member Assembly after its candidate Ferlin C.A. Sangma won the bye-election to the Selsella Assembly constituency.

Ferlin defeated Congress candidate June Eliana R. Marak by a margin of 4,369 votes. The victory has helped the NPP emerge as the single largest party in the state.

The bye-election to the Selsella Assembly constituency was necessitated following the demise of sitting Congress MLA and former Minister Clement R. Marak, the husband of June Eliana R. Marak.

The NPP is leading the Meghalaya Democratic Alliance (MDA) government with the support of its partners, the UDP (7), BJP (2), People's Democratic Front (4), Hill State People's Democratic Party (2), NCP (1) and three Independents.

--IANS

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