The United Democratic Party (UDP), which is a partner in the coalition Government of Meghalaya, in a letter to the Chief Election Commission of India issued on Tuesday, sought the by-election to the two Assembly constituencies – South Tura Constituency and Ranikor Assembly Constituency – on same date to avoid political influence and manipulation.
Following taking over of Conrad K Sangma, MP, as the Chief Minister of Meghalaya on March 6, 2018 and following resignation of Agatha Sangma as South Tura MLA on July 2, 2018 to pave way for the present CM to contest the by-poll, the Election Commission through a notification announced August 24, 2018 as the date for the by-election to the Assembly seat and August 27, 2018 as the date for declaration of the poll result.
On the other hand, following the resignation of MM Danggo on June 21, 2018 as MLA of Ranikor Assembly constituency, election date for the by-poll to the seat is yet to be announced by the Election Commission.
Mentioning about all these, UDP, Meghalaya general secretary Dr Jemino Mawthoh in the letter stated, “We are aware that the date for the bye-election is constitutionally time-bound as per the term of expiry. However, it is felt that since the two constituencies are in the State of Meghalaya, it would be advisable to hold elections simultaneously, thereby leaving no chances for political influences and manipulation, holding in place the Commission’s advocacy of free and fair elections.”
In the letter Mawthoh also mentioned the announcement as “surprising”, considering the case of Ranikor constituency, where the MLA had resigned much earlier, i.e. on June 21, 2018 and “till date, no announcement for the election was made.” Whereas for the South Tura Constituency, the MLA resigned at a later date i.e. on July 2, 2018 but the notification for the election date has already been issued by the Election Commission.
The UDP, Meghalaya has urged the Election Commission to notify the same election date for both the Assembly constituencies in Meghalaya.
Mawthoh further added, “… we find no justification to hold the elections on separate polling dates for the two constituencies.”