Hitler, Hilarious, Romeo, Newton, Clever, Moonlight, Friday, Boldness, Adviser, Rockfeller, Founder-Strong, you may feel the above is a haphazard list of some people who have scripted history. You may even feel that these are names of wrestlers, or even the titles of some dubbed Hollywood movies at B-grade cinema halls. However, to put your confusions to rest, these are, in fact, the names of the candidates who tested their luck in the 8th Assembly Elections of Meghalaya which were wrapped up yesterday, 3rd March, 2008.
The Congress, contesting for 59 seats, will face the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), its ally at the Center, which is contesting for 49 seats. While the United Democratic Party (UDP) and the Meghalaya Democratic Party (MDP) stand a considerable chance as well, the local parties and constituents of the current Coalition Government with Congress too, hold a good chance. Bihar’s famous party, the Lok Janshakti Party, for the first time is contesting for 18 seats in the states.
The State currently has 60 assembly seats, for which the star campaigners are wooing a majority of the voting population. Surprisingly, there are 20, 000 more female voters than the male voters in the state.
The voting population is mainly from the Garo, Khasi and Jaintia hills. Though there are cultural and lingual differences among these people, but their common link is English.
In India, regional elections without controversy don’t seem like elections at all, and thus, controversies like embezzling funds and cases of nepotism have already started circulating. One such rumour is that cash worth Rs. 2 crore was found with a Congress candidate in a raid of Election Commission. Another rumour doing rounds was the Congress Party giving tickets to a militant’s brother to fight against a former militant candidate of the NCP. The move is speculated to be an effort to appease rebels.
However, there is one more enemy of this part of democratic process and they are the wild elephants that inhabit the area. About 3000 wild elephants inhibit the state and the most vulnerable to their threats are the east and west Garo hills, west Khasi hills and the Ribhoi districts, where the forest guards are deployed.
The election process saw 41 companies deployed during militant attacks to counter the infiltration of the Bangladeshi terror elements, who are believed to hinder the entire election process.
Thus, it remains to be seen as to who wins these current elections, and what role they play in the upliftment of these state to bring them on the road to development.