Candidate list released in New Delhi after the Congress’ screening committee headed by Oscar Fernandes finalised the names
New Delhi/Shillong: The Congress on Saturday released a list of 57 candidates, including Chief Minister Mukul Sangma, for the February 27 elections to the 60-member Meghalaya Assembly.
The list, which also includes state Congress President Celestine Lyngdoh and Congress Lok Sabha member Vincent H. Pala, was released in New Delhi after the Congress’ screening committee headed by Oscar Fernandes finalised the names.
However, the screening committee couldn’t finalise its candidates in three assembly constituencies — Pynthorumkhrah, South Shillong and Khliehriat.
Pynthorumkhrah constituency was represented by Congress legislator Alexander Hek, who is expected to contest on a BJP ticket.
“Since there are more applicants in these three assembly seats, we have decided to keep it pending and will finalise the candidates within a week’s time,” Pala told IANS.
On the other hand, the Congress party denied a ticket to its sitting party legislator Bluebell R. Sangma in favour of newcomer Lazarus Sangma.
Incumbent Chief Minister Mukul Sangma, who has been winning for five consecutive terms from Ampatigiri constituency since 1993, will be contesting from two assembly seats — Ampatigiri and Songsak under Tura parliamentary constituency in Garo Hills region.
Hoping Stone Lyngdoh, who was president of the Hill State People’s Democratic Party (HSPDP) till his death, had successfully contested from two Assembly seats — the erstwhile Pariong (now Mawthadraishan) and Nongstoi in the 1988 elections.
The list includes the names of: Home Minister Horju Donkupar Roy Lyngdoh, Public Works Department Minister Martin M. Danggo, Excise Minister Zenith Sangma, Urban Affairs Minister Ronnie V. Lyngdoh, Information and Technology Minister Ampareen Lyngdoh, Education Minister Deborah Marak, Forest, Environment and Climate Change Minister Clement Marak and Public Health Engineering Minister Celestine Lyngdoh.
Five women candidates are on the list, including sitting Congress legislator Dikanchi D. Shira, who is also the wife of Chief Minister Sangma.
Assembly Speaker Abu Taher Mondal’s name also figures in the Congress list.
State Congress President Celestine Lyngdoh voiced confidence that the party will retain power in Meghalaya.
“We are targeting to win 30 seats and we might just cross 31 on the result day,” Lyngdoh told journalists.
Earlier, in a blow to the Congress, seven legislators had resigned, of whom five — Rowell Lyngdoh, Prestone Tynsong, Coming One Ymbon, Ngaitlang Dhar and Sniawbhalang Dhar — had joined the National Peoples Party.
Alexander Hek, who was Health and Family Welfare Minister in the Mukul Sangma Cabinet before being sacked last year, joined the BJP, while Khasi Hills Autonomous District Council Chief Executive Member P.N. Syiem joined the newly-floated People’s Democratic Front.
Veteran Congress legislators, including four-time Chief Minister D.D. Lapang, incumbent Deputy Chief Minister Roytre Christopher Laloo and Health and Family Welfare Minister Roshan Warjri, have declared themselves “retired” from electoral politics.