Shillong, Mar 7 : With the announcement of Lok Sabha election dates for the two reserved seats of Shillong and Tura in Meghalaya on April 9, political parties in the hill state are now pulling up their socks in the right earnest.
While the sitting MP from Shillong is former Union minister Vincent Pala of Congress, youngest MP Agatha Sangma, who had won on an NCP ticket from Tura, is now active in the National People's Party (NPP), headed by her father Purno A Sangma.
Congress, which won a near majority with 29 seats in a house of 60 in the last assembly elections, is upbeat of wresting the Tura seat, considered to be a stronghold of the former Lok Sabha speaker P A Sangma, who unsuccessfully contested for the President's post last year.
"It will be Sangma vs Sangma again this time. But chief minister Mukul Sangma, who led the Congress to a comfortable win in the last state assembly polls, is now a force to reckon with in the Garo Hills," said a Congress functionary.
"The chief minister and other Congress veterans, including former chief minister DD Lapang, will be extensively touring the state to garner support for the party candidate," the Congressman said, even as he admitted that the party was yet to decide on whether to fight the polls with the sitting Shillong MP or go for a fresh face.
On the other hand, the NPP, which took a drubbing in the last assembly polls, hopes to use the "PA Sangma magic" in the Garo Hills. "He (Purno) is a vastly experienced political leader and has got several quivers in his archery," said an NPP leader. He added that the party is yet to come forward with the name of its nominees. The states that will go to polls along with Meghalaya on April 9 are Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur, Mizoram and Nagaland. With the announcement of the Lok Sabha polls, the model code of conduct has come into effect from Wednesday.