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Meghalaya election campaign ends

March 01, 2008

Electioneering came to an end on Saturday for the eighth assembly elections in Meghalaya scheduled for March 3.

In all there are 331 candidates from different political parties, including 73 Independents contesting election to 59 assembly constituencies. Election to constituency No 37 (Baghmara) has been postponed due to death of a candidate. 

The ruling Congress has fielded candidates in all the 59 constituencies going for poll on March 3 followed by 49 candidates fielded by its arch rival Nationalist Congress Party. The BJP has put up 23 candidates while the CPI has fielded only three candidates. 

Lok Janashakti Party has contested in 18 seats. Rests of the candidates are from regional political parties and 73 Independents.

Among the regional political parties the United Democratic Party has contested the election from 53 constituencies, Meghalaya Democratic Party from 18 constituencies, Hill State People's Democratic Party from 15 constituencies, and Khun Hynnewtrap National Awakening Movement from 16 constituencies and Garo National Council in four constituencies. The rest 73 poll candidates are Independents.

The campaigning trail in the state was hit by several top level leaders from national parties, including Sonia Gandhi [Images] and Dr Manmohan Singh [Images] from the ruling Congress. The Congress has in fact stationed a battery of All India Congress Committee leaders in the state to oversee the electioneering.

The Bharatiya Janata Party roped in party president Rajnath Singh, vice-president Venkaiah Naidu and crowd pullers, Smriti Irani [Images] and former popular film star Shatrughan Sinha to woo voters in the hill state where it expects to do a 'balancing job' in government formation in the post-election scenario.

NCP president Sharad Pawar [Images] held several elections meeting in the state where the party is hoping to wretch power from Congress under the leadership of former Lok Sabha Speaker Purno A Sangma.

Though the LJP led by Ramvilas Paswan does not have much significance in the state, its president was also there to hit the campaign trail. The Congress, BJP and the NCP made use of choppers extensively to facilitate whirlwind poll campaigning by party stalwarts.

NCP's chief ministerial candidate Purno A Sangma carried out the maximum number of sorties in his Bell 407 helicopter to campaign in far flung areas of the state. Over 12 lakh voters are expected top cast their votes on March 3 polling day. Significantly the number of women voters is higher than that of male voters in Meghalaya.

Reportage: K Anurag | Graphic: KBK

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