SHILLONG, Aug 21 - The campaigns for the by-elections in South Tura and Ranikor has revealed that these two constituencies are poles apart on various issues. The campaigning ended this evening.
South Tura, considered a prestigious seat, is largely an urban constituency. The ruling NPP evoked PA Sangma�s legacy to canvass for votes. Chief Minister Conrad Sangma, who is contesting the seat, tried to woo the voters by highlighting that they would stand to benefit by having the Chief Minister as its local MLA.
The level of development in South Tura is comparable with some of the urban areas in the State capital, while Ranikor, a rural constituency, has remained an underdeveloped area.
Ten polling stations in Ranikor are non-motorable. The constituency shares an international border with Bangladesh and these areas have remained largely underdeveloped.
However, all polling stations are motorable in South Tura. Six polling stations will be webcast in the constituency, while only three in Ranikor will have this facility.
Ranikor has a polling station that lies on an elephant corridor. This elephant corridor passes through several districts of the Garo Hills and criss-crosses into Bangladesh. There are two model polling stations in South Tura and one in Ranikor.
The demography of Ranikor is mixed and there are equal numbers of Garos and Khasis in the constituency together with non-tribals and people of other tribes. Former MLA MM Danggo is contesting to retain the seat on an NPP ticket.
Danggo is one of the few MLAs in the State who can converse in Khasi, Garo, Bengali and Assamese. To counter him, the Congress had asked its Mawsynram MLA, Himalaya Shangpliang, to campaign as he, too, can speak in these languages.
On the other hand, Garos form the major chunk of the South Tura population.
Therefore, campaigning in the two constituencies was conducted on different lines. In Ranikor underdevelopment is the main issue. The Congress attacked former MLA Danggo for the backwardness of the constituency. Significantly, Danggo has all along been a Congress legislator till he quit the party this year.
Although in South Tura, the campaign was also based on development, it veered towards religious lines. A showcase notice has been issued to one of the candidates for a hate speech.
Meanwhile, Chief Electoral Officer Fredrick Roy Kharkongor said all campaigners from outside the constituencies were asked to leave today after the end of the campaign period. �Though campaigning was peaceful, we confiscated a sum of Rs 12.8 lakh in Ranikor over the past few days. In South Tura, there were no such seizures,� Kharkongor said.