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Prominent candidates whose fates will be decided today

Counting from 8am will finally reveal the results of the most crucial ballot battle in state

SHILLONG: The wait is finally over. The fate of as many as 361 candidates sealed in EVMs will be revealed on Saturday.
Though the counting will start at 8 am, the result is expected to trickle in from 11 am.
Counting will be simultaneously held in all the 11 district headquarters and two civil sub divisions, Sohra and Mairang, amid tight security.
At JN Complex, Polo, votes of 15 East Khasi Hills constituencies will be counted and the votes of the remaining two, Sohra and Shella, will be counted in Sohra.
The EVMs were kept in strong rooms after the February 27 polls held for 59 constituencies. Election in Williamnagar was countermanded following the killing of NCP candidate Jonathone Sangma.
Chief Electoral Officer Frederick Kharkongor said on the eve of counting of votes that one company of central paramilitary forces each has been deployed in every strong room and there has been round-the-clock guarding of the strong rooms after the polls.
Additional forces have also been deployed to prevent untoward incidents post poll. Besides CCTV surveillance, there will be webcasting from the counting centres.
East Khasi Hills district administration will put up an LED screen at JN Stadium and Parking Lot, Polo, to relay the results. A giant wooden board has also been set up at State Central Library premises to manually exhibit the results.
There may be slight delay in knowing the outcome because first the postal votes of government employees who were on election duty will be counted and then that of service voters. Subsequently, the VVPAT papers of one polling station in each of the 60 constituencies will be counted as per the earlier direction of the Election Commission.
Later, the VVPAT papers of five polling stations where the presiding officers failed to clear mock poll data prior to the actual poll on February 27, will be manually counted.
These are Nongriangkham under Mawshynrut, Gasuragaon (Ampati) and Sibbari (Baghmara), Laitmgew under Sohra Civil Sub Division and Dilma Ading under Kharkutta.
Out of over 18 lakh voters, more than 15 lakh cast their votes on February 27 to elect 59 legislators from as many as 361 candidates.
The largest number of contestants is Independents, who will play a crucial role in the formation of the next government.
Thirteen Independents were elected in the 2013 Assembly polls.
This time 80 Independents are in the fray, besides candidates from 15 political parties.
Independent candidates apart, the Congress has put up candidates in all the constituencies followed by NPP (52), BJP (47), UDP (35), PDF (26), NCP (21), HSPDP (13), All India Trinamool Congress and KHNAM (8 each), and GNC and Aam Aadmi Party (6 each). The Lok Jan Shakti Party, North East Development Party, Republican Party of India and Republican Party of India (A) had one candidate each.
While a majority of parties had contested the polls alone, the only pre-poll alliance was between UDP, HSPDP and GNC.
The Congress is trying to retain power while the NPP, which had many former Congress MLAs as candidates, fought against the Congress, BJP and other regional parties.
Though BJP is a crucial factor in the government formation of non-Congress political parties, it remains to be seen how many seats the party secures.
Prominent leaders whose fate will be decided on Saturday include Chief Minister Mukul Sangma, who is contesting from both Ampati and Songsak, his wife Dikkanchi Shira from Mahendraganj, brother Zenith Sangma (Rangsakona), Assembly Speaker AT Mondal (Phulbari), Home Minister HDR Lyngdoh (Sohiong), Ampareen Lyngdoh (East Shillong), MPCC president and Umsning candidate Celestine Lyngdoh (Umsning), KHADC CEM PN Syiem (Mawsynram), James Sangma (Dadenggre), Nihim D Shira (Songsak), Prestone Tynsong (Pynursla), Agatha Sangma (South Tura), Donkupar Roy (Shella), Jemino Mawthoh (Nongthymmai), Paul Lyngdoh (West Shillong) and AL Hek (Pynthorumkhrah).

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