Dasmunsi to release Congress manifesto in Meghalaya on Feb 8

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Shillong, Feb 6 (UNI) Union Parliamentary Affairs Minister Priya Ranjan Dasmunshi will arrive here on Friday to release the Congress manifesto.

The Congress has fielded its candidates in all the 60 constituencies of the state with Meghalaya Chief Minister D D Lapang seeking re-election from Nongpoh and Speaker Martin M Danggo from Langrin constituencies.

Party tickets have been alloted to three women candidates, including state Health and Family Welfare Minister Deborah C Marak, sitting MLA Irin Lyngdoh and newcomer Sophibensinda Marak, contesting from Chokpot constituency.

Former Chief Minister J D Rymbai, who quit the Congress, will contest the Assembly election on the United Democratic Party ticket from Jirang constituency. Former Jaintia Hills Autonomous District Council Edmund S Lyngdoh, who also quit the Congress, will contest from Nongbah Wahiajer constituency on the Meghalaya Democratic Party ticket.

Incumbent Education Minister Robert G Lyngdoh has opted out this time.

The ticket has gone to Mr Nicky F Lyngdoh.

Mr Nicky's main opponent will be Ms Ampareen Lyngdoh, sister of the Education Minister. Sacked Khasi Hills Autonomous District Council Chief H S Shylla, who was denied a party ticket in preference to Union Minister P R Kyndiah's scion W K Kyndiah for Nongkrem constituency, decided to contest as Independent candidate against the official candidate.

Sitting Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) MLA from Tikrikilla constituency Monindra Rava and Nartiang constituency MLA Draision Kharshiing of Meghalaya Democratic Party were also alloted Congress tickets.

A single-phase election of the 60-seat Assembly will be held on March 3. The counting will be held on March 7.

The filing of nomination papers will begin on February 8 and close on February 15.

The last date for withdrawal of nomination is February 18.

During his whirlwind visit to Shillong, the Union Parliamentary Affairs Minister will meet all the Congress candidates and other senior Congress leaders to discuss poll strategies in Meghalaya, especially in the Nationalist Congress Party's heartland in Garo Hills.

Former Lok Sabha Speaker P A Sangma, who is returning to state politics after spending three decades in national politics, has decided to contest the Assembly polls from Tura constituency in West Garo Hills district.

The NCP has projected Mr Sangma as its Chief Ministerial candidate.

Unlike other states, the NCP and Congress have decided against any pre-poll alliance in Meghalaya.

Mr Dasmunsi will be accompanied by Meghalaya AICC Secretary in-charge Maj (Retd) Ved Prakash.

After the Union Minister's visit, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh will lead the campaign trails in the three Northeastern states of Meghalaya, Nagaland and Tripura ahead of the Assembly elections.

AICC General Secretary in-charge of Meghalaya and Nagaland Margaret Alva had said Congress President Sonia Gandhi and AICC General Secretary Rahul Gandhi will also hit the campaign trail for two days in the three poll-bound NE states.

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