State goes to LS polls amid tight security today
SHILLONG: Amid a poll boycott call by HNLC in Khasi Hills and heightened activities by militant groups in Garo Hills, Meghalaya goes to polls on Wednesday to elect two representatives, one from Shillong and another from Tura, to the Lok Sabha.
The poll timing is from 7 am to 5 pm. The State Government has declared a holiday on Wednesday to enable the voters to come out in large numbers.
The fate of eight candidates for Shillong Lok Sabha seat, sitting MP Vincent H Pala (Congress), Paul Lyngdoh (UDP), Shibun Lyngdoh (BJP), Amerington Kharshiing (AAP), Richard Shabong (CPI) and Independents Rev.PBM Basaiawmoit, Denis Siangshai and Ivoryna Shylla for Shillong seat and two candidates for Tura, PA Sangma (NPP) and Daryl William Cheran Momin (Congress) will be decided on Wednesday.
Acting Chief Secretary Barkos Warjri said preparations were complete to ensure a free and fair election.
Warjri had visited seven out of the total eleven districts to assess the preparedness for the Lok Sabha polls.
“We hope to have a record turnout in Lok Sabha polls like in 2013 Assembly polls though there is a bandh called by HNLC,” Warjri said, adding that enough security arrangements have been made to ensure law and order in Garo Hills with available security forces.
Despite the bandh call, there was more than 80 per cent polling in the Assembly elections held last year.
The Government is also keeping a close watch on Jaintia Hills to prevent group clashes or clashes between political parties.
A total of 343 polling stations have been classified ) as hypersensitive and 375 as sensitive out of the total of 2,562 polling stations. Eighty five percent of the hypertensive polling stations are in parts of Garo Hills.
Some areas have been categorized as sensitive due to the nature of political rivalry, drunkenness, group clashes and menace created by wild elephants.
The state home department is coordinating with Assam Police and the BSF to ensure peaceful voting in polling stations in the borders.
The state has to face the polls with the limited force of 40 companies of Central paramilitary forces unlike the deployment of 90 companies for the Assembly elections.
While 980,740 voters will decide the fate of eight candidates under Shillong Parliamentary seat, the number of voters under Tura seat is 586,501.
In Shillong, female voters outnumber their male counter parts, while in Tura, there is a contrast as there are more male voters than their female counterparts.
In South Tura segment, however, the male voters are outnumbered by women voters as there 13476 female voters and 13346 male voters.
Similarly the number of female voters in Rangsakona segment is 13773 and male is 13720.
The Election Department had initiated several innovative steps to encourage the voters to come out in large numbers to register their votes.
Chief Electoral Officer P. Naik had recently said that the intention of innovations was aimed at increasing the turnout of voters compared to the last 2009 Lok Sabha polls which recorded over 64 percent polling.
There are 21,000 new voters enrolled in the age group between 18 and 19.
For the first time, the voters in Meghalaya can use the NOTA option in EVM.
Shillong and Tura seats at a glance
Vote timing-7 am to 5 pm
Voters under Shillong seat: 980,740 (male: 480,409, female: 500,331)
Tura seat : 586,501 (male: 297,230, female: 289,271)
Total voters: 15,67,241
Hyper sensitive polling stations : 343
Sensitive polling stations: 375
Polling stations near Meghalaya- Assam border : 138
Polling stations near Meghalaya-Bangladesh border: 90
Smallest polling station: Paham Sohbar (28 voters)
Biggest polling station: Rongrenggre (1409 voters)