Hitler, Newton in election race
The run up to Monday's elections in Meghalaya may have been lacklustre but there is no dearth of candidates with names like Hitler, Frankenstein, Hilarious, Romeo, Clever, Newton, Moonlight and Chamberlaine.
Stocky Garo tribal leader and Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) candidate with the Nazi dictator's namesake Adolf Hitler is poised for a close fight in Rangsakona constituency. His opponent is Zenith Sangma, a minister in the outgoing cabinet.
Whacky names of candidates in Meghalaya have always been the highpoint in any election in the northeastern state.
With a population of 2.3 million, Meghalaya is predominantly Christian with Garo, Khasi and Jaintia being the main languages spoken and English used as the link language.
Most tribal people in Meghalaya prefer names of famous people although they know very little about their background.
"People here have a fascination for exotic names and hence give their children strange names," said R. Lyngdoh, a history teacher at a college.
Voters too are oblivious of the fact that Hitler's name has a derogatory connotation. For them, Hitler is a politician who had earlier been a minister. So is Frankenstein Momin, a former education minister.
Boniface Bamon of NCP is working overtime in Nartiang constituency against his opponent Britianwar Dan.
So are Romeo Rani, Darling Lamare, Moonlight Pariat, Boldness Nongum and Budshell Marbaniang...
Kennedy, Adiver, Chamberlaine, Livingstone and Newton are also among 331 candidates contesting the polls for the 60-member legislature.
Frankenstein Momin may not be the most feared candidate, but there are contestants like Bombersingh and Hilarious who could pose a real challenge to their rivals.
But for candidates like Friday Lyngdoh, Tony Curtis, Founder Strong and Gregarious, this election is going to be crucial - all of them are harping on the theme of stability and good governance.
Rockfeller and Adviser, Livingstone and Hopinstone are other candidates focusing on local issues to woo voters. But contestants like Clever Marak, who is an independent, is depending on his wit to outsmart his rivals.
And one cannot simply ignore journalist Stafing Jove Langpen Pdahkasiej, an independent - perhaps with the longest name among the contestants.