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Cong and NPP face prestige fight in Tura

By Raju Das

SHILLONG, April 22 - The Tura Parliamentary by-election has turned into a prestige fight between two political families after the Congress proposed the name of Chief Minister Mukul Sangma�s wife for the seat while the National People�s Party has nominated Purno Sangma�s son.

Last evening, Meghalaya Pradesh Congress Committee cleared the name of Dikkanchi D Shira, wife of the CM for the by-elections and today, the NPP proposed the name of Conrad Sangma.

While Shira is the sitting MLA from Mahendraganj seat in South Garo Hills, Purno�s son, Conrad lost the last Assembly election from Selsella constituency to present Power Minister Clement Marak of Congress.

The Lok Sabha seat fell vacant after the demise of Purno Sangma on March 4. It was a foregone conclusion that one of his children � Agatha Sangma (former Union Minister) or Conrad Sangma � would contest the seat.

The Chief Minister, when asked about possible sympathy wave that might work in favour of the NPP, said, Congress party would go to the people and explain things in clear perspective. �We have record of what we have done in the past for the people of Garo Hills. We will explain to the people and then seek their mandate,� Sangma said.

It is largely being felt that the NPP would seek vote from the people in memory of Purno Sangma and his contributions to the people. In fact, the NPP has proposed that no political parties should field candidates for the elections in respect to Purno Sangma. The BJP is likely to extend support to the NPP although its political influence in the State is minimum.

Meanwhile, Congress has 14 MLAs from Garo Hills, out of the 24 Assembly seats in the region. Five Independent MLAs are also extending their support to the party.

On the other hand, the NPP won the District Council elections last year with ten MDCs, in a Council of 29 members.

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