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All set for Assembly polls today

By Our Reporter

Polling officials armed with EVMs head to their respective polling booths for conduct of the Assembly election in Meghalaya, in the city on Friday. (UB)
Polling officials armed with EVMs head to their respective polling booths for conduct of the Assembly election
in Meghalaya, in the city on Friday. (UB)

SHILLONG: Meghalaya goes to polls on Saturday with over 15 lakh voters set to elect 60 legislators to the 9th Assembly from a total of 345 candidates in the fray.

The polling will start at 7 am and end at 4 pm.

Since this is the first Assembly elections under the delimited constituencies, the election will decide the fate of many sitting legislators who are in a direct contest with their colleagues in the Assembly.

There are over 1 lakh new voters registered this time and out of this over 40,000 are young voters.

Out of the total 15,03,907 voters, the female voters (7,59,608) outnumber their male counter parts (7,44,299).

Though the HNLC had given an election boycott call in Khasi Hills, the Government has assured security instilling confidence in the minds of the people.

Braving the 36-hour bandh call, the East Khasi Hills district administration has made elaborate arrangements for free of cost public transport facility on Saturday in all the major routes of the city as well as in other parts of the district. People have been requested to avail this facility to come to the polling stations to exercise their right to vote without fear.

An Election official said that over 100 SPTS buses and many maxi taxis will ply through seven districts of the state except in Garo Hills to facilitate transportation of the voters.

Chief Electoral Officer, P Naik, said that the Election department was fully prepared to conduct a free and fair election on Saturday.

In Garo Hills, though the GNLA has not boycotted the elections, additional security personnel have been deployed in certain vulnerable pockets of the region to prevent any untoward incident. The ANVC (B), however, has made an appeal to the voters to come out in large numbers.

There are as many 91 companies of security forces, deployed all over the State, to ensure a free and fair election.

The Congress is the only party to have fielded candidates from all 60 candidates, followed by the UDP with 50 candidates. NPP has fielded 32 candidates, followed by NCP with 21, HSPDP (17), BJP (13), SP (11), GNC (6), KHNAM (4), LJP (4) and MDP (2).

CPI, NESDP and RSC have fielded one candidate each while a staggering number of 122 Independents are contesting the election, the highest ever in the State’s election history.

Out of the total 345 candidates, there are 25 women contesting the election this time.

North Shillong, Mawthadraishan and Mahendraganj will witness contests between two women candidates.

While 84-year-old HSPDP veteran HS Lyngdoh (Nongstoin) is the oldest candidate contesting the election, there are many young candidates in the fray who include HSPDP candidate Pyniaid Sing Syiem (Mawryngkneng), NCP’s Mafiara T Sangma (Mahendraganj), Independent candidates Tim Chisim (Rajabala), Roger Benny A Sangma (North Tura) and Jim Carter M Sangma (Gambegre), all aged 26 years.

Prominent among those who are contesting the election include Chief Minister Dr Mukul Sangma, MPCC president DD Lapang, Assembly Speaker Charles Pyngrope, Leader of Opposition Conrad Sangma, former Chief Ministers Donkupar Roy and Salseng C Marak, MPCC working president Deborah Marak and former Rajya Sabha MP Thomas Sangma.

In Garo Hills, all eyes are on NPP chief PA Sangma and Chief Minister Dr Mukul Sangma of the Congress.

While the Congress has claimed that they will get absolute majority, the NPP, UDP and NCP, among others, have separately reiterated that they would emerge as the single largest parties after the election.

While Conrad Sangma and his brother James Sangma are contesting the elections from the PA Sangma family, the Chief Minister has fielded his wife Dikkanchi Shira and brother Zenith Sangma.

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