Meghalaya’s election results appeared to head the way of the exit polls, with no party in clear majority, as counting of votes began at 8 am on Thursday amid tight security.
Chief Minister Conrad Sangma‘s National People’s Party (NPP) is ahead in about 20 of 60 seats, emerging as the single largest party in early trends. The majority mark in Meghalaya is 31.
The United Democratic Party (UDP) was leading in eight seats, while the BJP, the Congress and the Trinamool Congress were ahead in seven seats respectively.
Conrad Sangma has already dropped a hint that his alliance with the BJP, dropped ahead of the elections, may soon be back on.
“If we get a fraction of the mandate, then we have to talk to parties to form the government… If a party can give voice to the northeast at the national level, we are working towards it,” Mr Sangma had told NDTV on Monday after an aggregate of four exit polls indicated that NPP might win about 20 seats.
Exit polls had also predicted that the BJP, which won only two seats in the state in 2018, will marginally expand its tally, winning six seats. The Congress could win six seats and new entrant Trinamool Congress could open its account with 11 seats, exit polls indicated.
In 2018, the BJP won only two seats but managed to cobble together a government with the NPP. This time, the two parties contested separately after a rift over corruption allegations against Mr Sangma’s party.
Votes polled in 59 of the 60 assembly constituencies of the state on February 27 are being counted at 13 centres across the state. Polling in the Sohiong seat was adjourned due to the death of a candidate.
Twenty-two companies of central paramilitary forces have been deployed to guard the counting centres, Chief Electoral Officer F R Kharkongor told news agency PTI.
The official said that 14 counting halls have been arranged in Shillong and 11 in Tura. Over 500 observers have been deployed across the state. The Election Commission has banned victory processions till 4 pm on March 4.
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