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Fate of Cong�s Meghalaya bastion to be decided today

By Staff Correspondent

SHILLONG, March 2 - The results of the 2018 Meghalaya Assembly elections would decide if the Congress would get another term to run the Government or lose one of its last strongholds in the country.

During a high-voltage campaign the Congress brought in some of its top leaders and campaigned across the State like never before to save its bastion from BJP�s onslaught of a �Congress Mukt Bharat.�

Congress president, Rahul Gandhi was involved in this high-pitched campaign and travelled to different parts of the State to woo voters.

The BJP�s campaign was spearheaded by Prime Minister Narendra Modi who campaigned in the two regions of the State � Khasi Hills and Garo Hills.

Though, BJP is not a force to reckon with in Meghalaya, national politics has dictated that Congress focuses its energy on BJP rather than NPP.

The fight in fact is between NPP and Congress. In Garo Hills, especially, NPP and Congress are trying to get maximum number of seats out of the 24 in the region.

Except the first Assembly of 1972, in which All Party Hill Leaders� Conference swept the polls after Meghalaya attained Statehood, there was only three instances of a Government completing a full term.

In fact, Chief Minister Mukul Sangma�s Government of 2013 was one such which completed a full term apart from Capt WA Sangma�s 1972 (APHLC) Government and SC Marak�s (Congress) Government of 1993.

Except the first Assembly, Congress has managed to form Governments in all the Assemblies so far due to nature of political instability. The regional parties, which have been strong during the inception of the State and till some years ago, are now strong only in some pockets.

There are possibilities of a coalition Government being formed as a clear mandate is unlikely. The NPP- BJP-PDF is one combination to form the Government, while Congress-NCP and other regional parties is another possible alliance.

In the 2013 elections, 13 Independents won, but this time the results may not favour the Independents to such an extent. So the influence of these Independents in Government formation is likely to be less.

Whatever the outcome of the results may be, both the Congress and the BJP stands to gain or loss from it and would have some bearing at the National level.

Meanwhile, all eyes would be on the 13 counting centres in the State. Counting would begin from 8 am and by 10 am a definite trend is likely to emerge as to who is going to form the Government.

Security has been beefed up as the authorities fear that there may be disturbances after the results are declared. East Jaintia Hills and in several areas of the city the security forces have been put on high alert to thwart any untoward incident.

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