NCP retains Meghalaya's lone RS seat

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Shillong, Mar 26 (UNI) The Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) today retained Meghalaya's lone Rajya Sabha seat with its nominee Thomas A Sangma defeating former Congress chief minister Salseng C Marak in a straight contest.

Mr Sangma, nephew of Meghalaya's first Chief Minister Capt Williamson A Sangma, defeated Mr Marak in the Rajya Sabha election held here by 32 to 28 votes.

Mr Sangma was supported by the NCP-backed Meghalaya Progressive Alliance (MPA) comprising the NCP (15), United Democratic Party (11) Hill State People's Democratic Party (2), BJP and Khun Hynniewtrep National Awakening Movement(one each) and two Independents in the 60-member House.

The Congress, however, with its 25 Legislators and three Independent MLAs failed miserably.

With today's win, the MPA had bagged almost all the important available posts after it cobbled up a simple majority on March 19 to form the government.

Days later, MPA nominee Bindo M Lanong won the Speaker's post, uncontested, and yesterday, NCP candidate Sato R Marak also wrested the Baghmara Assembly seat from the Congress.

For the first time, the Rajya Sabha would be represented by a candidate from Garo Hills since the state attained statehood.

''I would try to raise some of the important issues pertaining to the state,'' a jubilant Mr Sangma told reporters after Returning Officer W M Rymbai declared him elected.

The Upper House of Parliament was earlier represented by NCP candidate Robert Kharshiing.

Meanwhile, NCP general secretary Purno A Sangma said the MPA candidate's victory was on expected lines.

'' There is no surprise. Everyone voted on expected lines and our candidate won,'' he said.

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