NCP retains Tura Parliamentary seat in Meghalaya

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Shillong, May 25 (UNI) The Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) today retained its Tura Parliamentary seat in Meghalaya, defeating the Congress by 99,856 votes, even as Meghalaya created a record of having four members from the same family to hold a public office.

In the by-poll held on May 22, the 28-year-old Agatha K Sangma, youngest daughter of former Lok Sabha Speaker Purno A Sangma, garnered 1,81,761 votes while her main rival Zenith M Sangma of the Congress secured 81,905 votes.

Mr Sangma's immediate nephew Boston Marak, who also contested the Parliamentary by-poll as an Independent candidate, attracted only 28,607 votes of the total 3,10,092 valid votes polled, while another Independent candidate John Leslee Sangma was left with only 17,819 votes.

Agatha is now the third among the four children of Mr Sangma to hold a public office. Her two elder brothers - Conrad and James - won the Assembly polls earlier this year on NCP tickets. Conrad is the Finance Minister, while James is a Parliamentary Secretary, a post equivalent to Minister of State in the Meghalaya Progressive Alliance government.

The by-election was necessitated after the former Lok Sabha Speaker decided to quit national politics and successfully contested the March 3 Assembly polls. Mr Sangma, who orchestrated the formation of a non-Congress government, is the Chairman of the Meghalaya Planning Board.

''I won the election with people understanding my vision for further development. Few months from now, I will tour my constituency to understand the requirement of the people,'' Agatha told UNI after being declared elected as member of the Lower House.

For Zenith M Sangma, this was the successive defeat in his electoral battle in a span on two months. He lost the Rangsakona Assembly constituency to NCP candidate Adolf Lu Hitler Marak.

Mr Sangma, who had retained the Tura Parliamentary seat for nine consecutive terms, said he was happy and proud seeing another child of his being elected as a Parliamentarian.

Agatha, a practising lawyer at Delhi High Court, is also armed with a Master's degree in Environment Management from the School of Geography, University of Nottingham, UK.

Soon after the results were out, the NCP leader mounted an open car and went out in a procession, roaming the main thoroughfares of Tura town.

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