Cong and NCP in straight contest for RS polls

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Shillong, Mar 18 (UNI) Meghalaya will witness a straight contest for a Rajya Sabha seat between Congress nominee and former Chief Minister Salseng C Marak and Nationalist Congress Party candidate Thomas A Sangma.

The election to the lone Rajya Sabha seat will be held on March 26.

Four political parties- United Democratic Party (11), Hill State People's Democratic Party (2), two Independents and one each from the BJP and Khun Hynniewtrep National Awakening Movement have supported the NCP candidate under the banner of Meghalaya Progressive Alliance.

The MPA has 31 legislators in the 60-member House.

One seat fell vacant owing to death of Congress candidate of Baghmara constituency. Election to the Baghmara seat is scheduled on March 22. Counting will be held on March 25.

The Congress, however, is hopeful of bagging the Rajya Sabha seat.

With 25 legislators the Congress is the single largest party, formed the Meghalaya United Alliance with the support of three Independent legislators, has fallen short by three seats to cross the majority threshold in the assembly.

Mr Marak, who lost the Resubelpara seat to NCP candidate Timothy Shira in the just concluded Assembly elections, said he was hoping to win the election even if the Congress led MUA government was defeated in the trial of strength tomorrow.

''I am sure to win the Rajya Sabha seat as there are well wishers from across who might vote for me,'' the former Chief Minister said.

In the last election, Robert Kharshiing (NCP) wrested the Upper House seat from the Congress with support from the regional parties, BJP and Independent MLAs.

UNI RRK PC SY DS1355

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