66 percent voting in Meghlaya Lok Sabha bypoll till 4 p.m.

Tura (Meghalaya), May 16 (IANS) Sixtysix percent voting was recorded till 4 p.m. on Monday in the Lok Sabha by-election in Tura constituency in Meghalaya even as people were still queuing up at many polling booths, an official said.

“We are expecting the voter turnout to increase to 70 percent by the time the polling ends,” Chief Electoral Officer Frederick Kharkongor told IANS.

The polling was peaceful by and large barring technical glitches in some electronic voting machines which were immediately replaced with new ones, Kharkongor said.

The Tura Lok Sabha seat fell vacant with the death of Purno A. Sangma on March 4, necessitating the by-election. The constituency has 622,189 voters.

Sangma’s youngest son Conrad K. Sangma of the National People’s Party (NPP) is pitted against Congress nominee Dikkanchi D. Shira, wife of Chief Minister Mukul Sangma.

“We (Congress) are optimistic of winning,” Shira told IANS after voting at Chengkompara in Ampati assembly segment.

Shira, a legislator in the 60-member Meghalaya assembly, was accompanied by Mukul Sangma and their daughter. She was confident of winning.

“I am hopeful we will win because the voters have realised the good work carried out by the Congress government,” she said.

Conrad earlier said he was confident that the voters of Garo Hills would elect him as the Lok Sabha member as a tribute to his late father Purno Sangma.

Conrad, who has the support of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and regional parties like the United Democratic Party (UDP), is a former Meghalaya finance minister and the opposition leader in the state assembly.

Former Lok Sabha speaker Sangma represented Tura in the Lok Sabha from 1977 to 2008 except for a two-year gap in 1989-91.

–IANS

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