Shillong, Aug 23 (IANS) Voting ended peacefully on Thursday in the Assembly by-elections in South Tura and Ranikor in Meghalaya, with National People’s Party (NPP) candidate Conrad Sangma saying he was confident of winning and retaining his Chief Minstership.
“By and large the polls were held in a smooth manner,” Chief Electoral Officer Frederick Roy Kharkongor told journalists.
The polling percentage till 5 p.m. was 72.89 per cent in South Tura and 85.89 per cent in Ranikor, he said.
Election officials have deployed at least 10 sprinters including marathon national champion Binning Lyngkhoi to act as messengers to collect information including voting percentage from the polling stations.
There were technical glitches during the voting but these were quickly sorted out, the officials said.
The by-election in South Tura was necessitated after Agatha Sangma resigned to pave the way for her brother Conrad to contest.
Conrad is pitted against Congress candidate Charlotte W. Momin, John Leslee K. Sangma and Kris Kabul A. Sangma (independents).
The Ranikor seat fell vacant after former Public Works Department Minister and five-time Congress legislator from Ranikor constituency Martin Danggo quit the Assembly and joined the ruling NPP after the government announced the creation of Ranikor Civil Sub-Division.
Danggo is facing three candidates in his bid to get re-elected: Congress’ Jacquish A. Sangma, United Democratic Party’s Pius Marwein and People’s Democratic Front’s P.N. Syiem.
“The NPP is confident of winning both (South Tura and Ranikor) seats since the electorate has faith in us,” Conrad told IANS over phone.
The Congress was equally confident of victory.
The counting of votes will be held on August 27 at Tura, the district headquarters of West Garo Hills, and Mawkyrwat, the district headquarters of South West Khasi Hills.