Moderate to brisk polling underway in Meghalaya

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Shillong, Feb 27 (IANS) Moderate to brisk polling amid tight security was underway on Tuesday in the northeastern state of Meghalaya for elections to the 60-member Assembly, an official said here.

“Voting is going on peacefully so far and the enthusiasm has been very encouraging in some areas, voting was on at a brisk pace. There has been no report of poll violence,” Chief Electoral Officer Frederick Roy Kharkongor told IANS.

He said over 16 per cent of the 18.9 lakh voters exercised their franchise till 10 a.m.

“There have been large numbers of VVPAT (Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail) machines which were malfunctioned, but they were replaced immediately to ensure smooth conduct of the polls,” Kharkongor said.

Polling in Williamnagar seat was countermanded following the killing of Nationalist Congress Party candidate Jonathone Sangma in an IED blast at Sawilgre area in East Garo Hills district on February 18.

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Governor Ganga Prasad has exercised his franchise at the All Saints Polling Station under East Shillong Assembly constituency.

Chief Minister Mukul Sangma, who is contesting from two constituencies – Ampati and Songsak – urged the people of the state to exercise their voting rights in a responsible and judicious manner.

Former Union Minister and National People’s Party (NPP) candidate Agatha.K. Sangma, Home Minister H.D.R. Lyngdoh of the Congress, Leader of Opposition Donkupar Roy of the United Democratic Party and Hill State People’s Democratic Party Chief Ardent Miller Basaiawmoit have also exercised their franchise.

As many as 340 polling stations have been categorised as “critical” and 580 as “vulnerable”.

Balloting in 183 polling stations will be webcast, to be made available at the offices of the Chief Electoral Officer or District Electoral Officer and the Election Commission of India, Kharkongor said.

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As many as 66 all-women polling stations and 61 model polling stations have been set up.

Mawlai constituency in East Khasi Hills district has the highest voters at 42,670, and Dalu in West Garo Hills the lowest 18,640 voters.

In all, 106 companies of central armed police forces have been deployed to ensure peaceful polls, he said.

In the 2013 Meghalaya Assembly elections, the voter turnout was recorded at 87.97 per cent.

–IANS

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