For a change voting in the Garo Hills region of Meghalaya did not end with the recently concluded Assembly election and the subsequent formation of the government in the State.
This year election fever continues to grip the region even after the election to the State Assembly is over.
This year is unique to the region because election will continue to happen in the State during different parts of the year.
The adjourned election to the Williamnagar constituency was necessary after the unfortunate and brutal murder of the NCP candidate Jonathone N Sangma who died in a militant attack while he was on a campaign trail.
The election was held with Krinilla R Marak taking the mantle of her demised husband.
For the NPP which is leading the MDA government in the State; it is a shot in the arm for the party and a moral booster for the leaders, who are in the helm of power.
But for the Congress it is not only a humiliating defeat but very unfortunately the blame game amongst the party leaders has also begun.
The party leadership are now blaming each other for the defeat; this unfortunate outcome of the adjourned election to the Williamnagar constituency will also have its impact on the prospect of the Congress retaining the Ampati constituency which is going to polls soon.
The election to the Ampati Assembly constituency was necessitated because former Chief Minister Mukul Sangma who had won from two constituencies in the last election decided to give up Ampati to give way for his daughter to contest from the constituency which he had represented for many years now.
It remains to be seen if Mukul Sangma’s magic will still be able to rescue the party and help it retain this prestigious seat or will Conrad steal the win from Mukul’s very own backyard?
The Ampati election will not be the last election in the Garo hills region of Meghalaya; because the situation so warranted that if the Chief Minister of the State Conrad Sangma wishes to continue in his position; he has to be an elected MLA within six months from the day he assumed office.
Conrad is now an MP in the Lok Sabha representing the Tura parliamentary constituency which became vacant after the unfortunate demise of his father Purno A Sangma.
Conrad will have to be an elected member of the House to continue as the Chief Minister of the State, so the question is; since Conrad is not willing to take the risk of contesting from Ampati which is the Congress’ stronghold, he has to find an open seat to contest to become an MLA.
The problem is there is no open seat anymore and the only alternative remain is for his sister Agatha Sangma to vacate the south Tura Assembly constituency and allow her brother to contest from the seat.
So there is no end to election in the Garo hills, after Ampati it will be election in the South Tura which will see Conrad trying to win the election to become an MLA and continue to be the Chief Minister of the State.
The next question is; if and when Conrad wins the South Tura by-poll, then the MP Tura parliamentary constituency will be vacant and we’ll have to wait and see if the Election Commission will conduct a by-election to fill the vacant seat, since the general election will be held sometime in the month of May next year.
It will only be a year from now till the next general election of the country and Conrad has four to three months’ time to get himself elected as MLA therefore Conrad’s and Agatha’s decision when to resign will be crucial for the EC to decide if it will conduct the by-election to the Tura parliamentary constituency or not.
Come what may; the year 2018 is a unique year for the Garo hills region of Meghalaya because the area will be having model code of conduct in the region almost throughout the year.
HH Mohrmen is a freelance writer based in Jowai, Meghalaya. He can be reached at:firstname.lastname@example.org