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Filing of nominations over in Meghalaya, 10 in fray

By The Assam Tribune

SHILLONG, March 22 (IANS): Filing of nominations in Meghalaya for the Lok Sabha elections ended Saturday with a total of 10 candidates in the fray, an election official said Saturday.

Polling for the two parliamentary constituencies -- Shillong and Tura -- in the state will be held April 9.

There was no report of poll-related incidents.

Eight candidates, including union minister Vincent H. Pala from the Congress, filed the nomination papers from Shillong.

This is the maximum number of candidates to have thrown their hat into the political ring from Meghalaya's capital.

Paul Lyngdoh (United Democratic Party), Shibun Lyngdoh (Bharatiya Janata Party), Richard D. Shabong (CPI), Armerington Kharshiing (Aam Aadmi Party) and P.B.M. Basaiawmoit, Denis Siangshai and Ivoryna Shylla (all Independents) are the other seven to submit their papers to Sanjay K. Goyal, the returning officer.

Shylla, the former president of BJP Mahila Morcha in Meghalaya, is the lone woman candidate to file her papers in the state.

"I have decided to contest the Lok Sabha elections from Shillong constituency since there is no woman candidate in the contest," Shylla told journalists.

In Tura, former Lok Sabha Speaker Purno Agitok Sangma and Congress nominee Daryl William Cheran Momin are pitted against each other.

"I fought nine elections from Tura. You know the results of the nine times and now, you do your assessment," Sangma told IANS, while exuding confidence of his return to the Lok Sabha for the tenth straight time.

Sangma's foray into politics began in 1977 when he won the Lok Sabha elections from Tura on a Congress ticket.

Meghalaya's opposition United Democratic Party, Garo National Council and the Bharatiya Janata Party have decided not to field candidates, but instead extend support to Sangma.

He went on to win the Lok Sabha elections in 1984, 1991, 1996, 1998, 1999 and 2004 besides the by-election in 2006. In 2004, he contested as a Trinamool Congress candidate.

Congress candidate Momin who is pitted against the veteran Garo political leader is the grandson of Meghalaya's first chief minister, late Capt. Williamson A. Sangma.

"I am not at all scared to take on Purno Sangma and the youth of Garo Hills are behind me to vote him (Sangma) out from Tura parliamentary seat," Momin said.

Scrutiny of nomination papers will take place March 24 at 11 a.m. while the last date for withdrawal of candidature is March 26.

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