Stray incidents reported from certain pockets Voting hours extended in some polling stations

 Over 88 pc polling recorded in State

SHILLONG/ JOWAI/ TURA/ NONGPOH: Meghalaya registered nearly 88 per cent turnout of voters in a peaceful poll conducted on Saturday despite the boycott of the election by the Khasi Hills-based HNLC, and the threat from GNLA in some pockets of Garo Hills.

The total percentage of polling in the 2008 Assembly election was 89.04 per cent.

Chief Electoral Officer P Naik told reporters on Saturday evening that the final percentage of turnout of voters will be known only on Sunday.

Despite the bandh call, voters came out in large numbers to exercise their franchise. The overall East Khasi Hills voting percentage was around 85 per cent.

According to East Khasi Hills Deputy Commissioner, Sanjay Goyal, the percentage of votes polled in urban constituencies ranged between 77 and 79 per cent while in rural constituencies it varied from 86 per cent to 90 per cent.

The constituency wise percentage will be finalized only on Sunday morning, he informed.

Elaborate security arrangements were made by the Election Department to ensure a free and fair polling.

According to Naik, no untoward incident was reported from any part of the state during the election hours.

Though the time to close the polling was at 4 pm, in some polling stations voting went on till late evening. Malfunctioning of EVMs and the use of minimum number of voting machines in big polling stations added to the delay.

In Garo Hills despite the fear due to the violent activities of GNLA, there were no untoward incidents reported from any polling stations.

It may be mentioned that there are 17 constituencies under East Khasi Hills District including the civil sub-divisions of Sohra and Shella.

Candidates of many political parties crisscrossed various polling stations during polling hours to make their presence felt among the voters.

The candidates, who had cast their votes in the early hours, expressed confidence that they will win from their respective constituencies.

All the EVMs of the polling stations under East Khasi Hills District will be kept under safe custody at the Jawaharlal Nehru Sports Complex, Polo, till the votes are counted there on Thursday.

Eight persons were arrested for

allegedly attempting to break the Electronic Voting Machine (EVM) at Wahiajer village under Nartiang constituency in West Jaintia Hills District during polling on Saturday.

The arrested persons were identified as Ebun Shylla (45), Komly War (47), Firstwell Dkhar (48), Mi Shylla (25), Winiki Dkhar (24), Yuhiki Pyrtuh (28), Larsing Nongrum (45) and Rilang Shylla (53).

Sources informed that a group of persons entered the polling booth to cast their votes. “One of them tried to damage the EVM instead of casting his vote. The incident took place just before the closing hours of polling,” sources said, adding that the group was being led by one Comly Shylla.

All the arrested persons were supporters of the BJP candidate from the constituency, sources added.

Elsewhere in the State, Jaintia Hills recorded 91.18 percentage of voters turnout in the Assembly election which passed off peacefully except for minor complaints in some of the polling stations.

The two constituencies in East Jaintia Hills — Sutnga-Saipung and Khliehriat — recorded 91.2 per cent and 93.3 per cent voter turnout respectively.

Out of 31472 electorates, a total of 29362 voters exercised their franchise in Khliehriat whereas in Sutnga-Saipung out of 31513 votes a total of 28741 votes were cast.

“The voting process in the entire East Jaintia hills was peaceful,” District Election Officer, Abhishek Bhagotia, said.

West Jaintia Hills District also recorded a very high voter turnout at 90.8 per cent.

Nartiang constituency had the highest turnout with 93.35 per cent while Jowai had the lowest turnout at 85.33 per cent.

Meanwhile, Ri-Bhoi District witnessed a very high percentage of voting in all the five constituencies.

As per the latest reports, Mawhati recorded the highest percentage of voter’s turnout with 90.76 per cent closely followed by Umroi with a turnout of 90.41 per cent.

Jirang recorded a percentage of 86.94, Umsning saw a turnout of 85.31 percent while Umroi recorded a turnout percentage of 85.1 per cent.

Initial reports indicate that the total votes polled in the various constituencies of Ri-Bhoi district are Nongpoh (21138), Umsning (21044), Umroi (18388) and Jirang (24568). The figures for Mawhati were not available till late Saturday night.

West Khasi Hills also witnessed a very high percentage of voter’s turnout in all the five constituencies.

However, final figures could not be gathered since all the presiding officers are expected to arrive only on Sunday morning, official sources said.

As per initial reports, the total percentage of voter’s turnout in Mawshynrut was 94.4 per cent, followed by Rambrai-Jyrngam with 89 per cent, Nongstoin with 87 per cent, Mairang at 75 per cent and Mawthadraishan with 70 per cent.

Both Mawkyrwat and Ranikor constituencies recorded a turnout of around 90 per cent, reports have indicated.

When contacted, South West Khasi Hills Additional Deputy Commissioner KL Nongbri said that out of the 43 polling stations, they have received the EVMs from 35 polling stations. Nongbri also informed that out of the 49 polling stations in Ranikor, they have received the EVMs of 30 polling stations.

As was the trend across the State, a high turnout was also registered in most polling stations across Garo Hills region. In East Garo Hills, the overall percentage was 83.83 per cent. The break up is Kharkutta (84.50 per cent), Songsak (87.44 per cent), Rongjeng (84.96 per cent) and Williamnagar (79.10 per cent).

In South Garo Hills, the overall percentage of votes polled was 86.9 per cent with Baghmara (86.54 per cent), Siju-Rongara (87.6 per cent) and Chokpot (86.2 per cent).

South West Garo Hills registered an overall percentage of 90 with all three constituencies, Ampati, Salmanpara and Mahendraganj having 90 per cent voter’s turn out.

The total percentage in West Garo Hills was 87 and the break up is Dalu (88 per cent), Rangsakona (87 per cent), Selsella (92 per cent), Raksamgre (90 per cent), Dadenggre (89 per cent), Tikrikilla (89 per cent), Rajabala (92 per cent), Phulbari (91 per cent), Gambegre (91 per cent), North Tura (76.8 per cent), and South Tura (73 per cent).

North Garo Hills had 86.6 per cent voters’ turn out with Resubelpara registering 85.15 per cent, Mendipathar 85.68 per cent and Bajengdoba 88.74 per cent.