SHILLONG: The Congress has been in power for the last ten years in Meghalaya. However, it will be tough for the party to make a hat-trick in the state where it faces a tough fight from the National People's Party (NPP) and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). As the counting of votes for 59 seats in Meghalaya begins on Saturday morning, exit polls are predicting that the Congress-ruled state may witness a hung assembly.
The polling was for the 60-seat Meghalaya Assembly was held on February 27. Of the 60 Assembly seats in Meghalaya, as many as 55 seats in the state are reserved for Scheduled Tribes.
Out of three exit polls, no one has predicted clear-cut majority for the Congress party in the 60-member Meghalaya Assembly. At least 30 seats are required by a political party or an alliance to form the government. In the last assembly polls in 2013, the Congress Party won 29 seats.
The JanKiBaat-NewsX exit poll predicts that the Congress Party will be able to win 13-17 seats with a vote share of 21 percent. The CVoter exit poll predicts 13-19 seats for the Congress Party with a vote share of 36.5 percent. The Axis-MyIndia exit poll has said the Congress Party is likely to win 20 seats.
While the BJP failed to win even one a single seat in the last assembly elections, the Axis-MyIndia exit poll has predicted 30 seats for the party. JanKiBaat-NewsX exit poll has suggested that the BJP will win 8-12 seats. CVoter exit poll has predicted 4-8 seats for the BJP.
The Congress Party fielded 59 candidates, while the BJP put up nominees in 47 constituencies. For the first time, Meghalaya Chief Minister Mukul Sangma contested from two seats. The Congress Party suffered a major setback on December 30 last year when five of its MLAs resigned from the Assembly and joined the NPP. Three other MLAs had also joined the NPP.
The voter turnout for February 27 elections was recorded to be 74.62 percent. Out of 60 seats, the polls were conducted for 59 seats as the election was postponed in one assembly seat because a Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) candidate was killed. Total 372 candidates contested elections. On the election day, there were reports of EVM malfunctioning at a number of polling booths.
According to the Election Commission, re-polling orders were given in only 1 polling booth of Raliang constituency in West Jaintia. Out of the total seats in the House, 55 are reserved for ST candidates. The rest of the 5 seats are for General candidates. The last State Assembly elections in the state were held on 23 February 2013.
Electronic Voting machines were used in the elections and the results were declared on 28 February. The voter turnout for the last assembly election was 88 percent. No party had a clear majority in the elections. The ruling Congress Party won 29 seats, falling just 2 seats short of forming the majority. The party also registered an increase in the number of seats from the last elections held in 2008.