SHILLONG, May 31 - The Congress today retained its traditional bastion, Ampati, with its candidate Miani D Shira winning the seat by a margin of 3,191 votes. The Congress has once again become the single largest party in the 60-member Assembly with 21 MLAs.
�The Congress candidate secured 14,259 votes, while her nearest rival, Clement G Momin of the National People�s Party, secured 11,069 votes,� Chief Electoral Officer Fredrick Kharkongor said here. Subhankar Koch, an Independent candidate, secured 360 votes.
Right from the morning when the postal ballots were opened, the Congress candidate maintained a steady lead, which remained intact till the final round of counting.
Shira is the daughter of former Chief Minister Mukul Sangma and therefore, there was a lot at stake for the Congress as well as Sangma. The party engaged in a bitter campaign with the NPP and there were even stray cases of violence. A number of FIRs and counter FIRs were also filed.
The by-election was necessitated after former Chief Minister Sangma won from two constituencies during the Assembly elections in March. He retained Songsak and vacated Ampati.
With this victory, the Sangma family is significantly represented in the Assembly. Sangma, his wife and brother Zenith Sangma are already members of the Meghalaya House. Now his daughter has become a legislator too. Sangma�s sister-in-law had also contested the last Assembly polls and lost narrowly.
The Congress had earlier emerged as the single largest party with 21 seats. The NPP bagged 19. However, the Congress could not form the Government as none of the regional parties was in favour of aligning with it.
Later, the NPP, with the support of the United Democratic Party (7), People�s Democratic Front (4), Hill State People�s Democratic Party (2) and BJP (2), formed the Meghalaya Democratic Alliance Government.
Both the Congress and the NPP were then tied at 20 seats each after the latter wrested the Williamnagar seat from the former, which was countermanded due to the death of a candidate during the Assembly polls, and Sangma vacating Ampati.