Shillong, Dec 23: Meghalaya lost one of its tallest leaders and former Lok Sabha Speaker P A Sangma in 2016, which also saw ruling Congress suffering back-to-back electoral defeats amid murmurs of dissidence and militant activities in the state apparently hit by demonetisation.
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The people of the state rejected Congress candidates in the parliamentary bypoll and also in the recently-concluded tribal autonomous district council elections.
Chief Minister Mukul Sangma's wife Dikkanchi D Shira lost by a huge margin to late P A Sangma's youngest son Conrad K Sangma in the bye-elections held for Tura constituency in western Meghalaya in May.
Congress has never come close to winning the Tura parliamentary seat held by P A Sangma for over four decades.
The party, which introduced a law barring a legislator to hold two elected posts resulting in seven of the eight MLAs holding 'dual posts' vacating the council membership, however failed to impress voters.
Home Minister HDR Lyngdoh who fielded his son from his constituency in Sohiong was defeated while only two of the six candidates the party fielded managed to win from their respective seats to the two autonomous district councils.
Police claimed militants have been hit by demonetisation particularly in the western part of the state where terror activities were frequent. At least four persons were arrested in western Meghalaya for parking huge amount of demonetised Rs 500 and Rs 1000 notes allegedly belonging to militant leaders.
They were arrested for depositing over Rs 60 lakh of what police claimed were terror funds owned by the militant leaders. Notorious militant Baichung, known to be the right hand man of proscribed Garo National Liberation Army (GNLA) chief Sohan D Shira, surrendered following the arrests. Police said demonetisation has taken its toll on Sohan too.
Meghalaya co-hosted with Assam the 12th edition of South Asian Games in February. Eight sports disciplines including women's football, badminton and boxing were held in the state. Mukul Sangma had a narrow escape when his official car was hit by a tourist taxi in February. None was hurt but the chief minister's car was damaged.