Sangma wins Tura, Congress victorious in Shillong

Shillong : Former Lok Sabha speaker Purno Sangma has made his way back to national politics by winning the Tura Lok Sabha seat, while incumbent Congress member Vincent H. Pala retained the Shillong seat in Meghalaya.

Sangma, candidate of the National People’s Party which is part of the BJP-led NDA, defeated Congress candidate Daryl William Cheran Momin by 39,716 votes.

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Sangma polled 2,39,301 votes while Momin got 1,99,585 votes.

Former union minister and Congress leader Pala defeated his nearest rival, independent candidate P.B.M. Basaiawmoit by 40,379 votes.

“It was expected that the NDA would win the Lok Sabha election, but the kind of result it showed was unexpected and extraordinary, and the people’s mandate expressed a new hope for a vibrant India under the leadership of Narendra Modi,” Sangma told IANS after winning from Tura.

“The election results have proved that people are totally against the Congress for its failure to tackle corruption and price hike, which has greatly affected the Indian masses,” the NPP leader said.

Sangma attributed his victory to the failure of the Congress-led government in Meghalaya to tackle insurgency and other developmental issues in the Garo Hills.

“People have shown faith in me and I promise to take up their issues in parliament and will try to initiate steps to ensure peace and development,” the Garo leader said.

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

For a brief period – 1988 to 1990 – he was Meghalaya chief minister.

Pala managed to retain his Lok Sabha seat, despite opposition from some Congress party leaders.

He secured 2,09,340 votes while his rival Basaiawmoit polled 1,68,961 votes.

In 2009, Pala had won from Shillong by over one lakh votes.

Pala admitted that the anti-incumbency factor affected him in getting more votes.

“The anti-incumbency and BJP putting up a candidate in Shillong affected me a lot,” he said.

Moreover, he admitted that there were “internal differences” in the beginning of his campaign, but said they were resolved after the party high command’s intervention.

A total of 10,960 people chose the “None Of The Above” (NOTA) option in Shillong and 19,276 in Tura.