It’s final: State records 69.03 pc polling

A security personnel guards the strong room at Polo on Thursday. (ST)

SHILLONG: In the final count, Garo Hills recorded a high of 78.13 per cent and the Khasi-Jaintia hills 63.58, giving Meghalaya as a whole a polling percentage of 69.03 in the Lok Sabha polls that were held on Wednesday.

Chief Electoral Officer P. Naik released the official figures for polling on Thursday.

The Shillong constituency, which registered a lower than average polling, was also hit by a bandh and poll boycott call by the banned HNLC on the day of polling. But, observers said the one of the reasons for overall lower polling in Shillong constituency could be the apathy of urban voters.

According to figures released by the CEO’s office, of the seven assembly segments comprising the city proper, the polling percentage was near the state average in only two segments, West Shillong at 68.62 and Pynthorumkhrah at 67.18. In the five others – Mawlai, East Shillong, North Shillong, South Shillong and Nongthymmai – the percentages varied between 52.78 and 65.86.

While the bandh call was there in the city proper also, observers cited the instance of Delhi to argue that apathy of urban voters could be one of the factors. At Thursday’s Lok Sabha vote in Delhi, the 64.77 per cent polling percentage recorded was the highest in the national capital in three decades, according to an IANS report.

Out of the total 97,951 voters under Shillong seat, 622760 cast their votes whereas in Tura, out of the total 5,86,299 voters, as many as 4,58,085 turned up for voting.

The percentage is of general voters and not inclusive of 1421 service voters.

While Mahendraganj represented by Dikkanchi Shira, the wife of Chief Minister Mukul Sangma had the overall highest percentage of 86.40 in the whole state followed by the Chief Minister’s constituency Ampati (85.29), the lowest was recorded at 52.65 percent at Pynursla, the constituency of cabinet minister Prestone Tynsong followed by Mawlai with 52.78 percent.

Under Shillong parliamentary seat, Khliehriat constituency recorded the highest voters’ turnout with 83. 42 percent followed by Mawkyrwat (80.65).

Under Tura Parliamentary seat, the lowest turnout was at Williamnagar (69.02 per cent) which is the constituency of Cabinet Minister Deborah Marak and the next was South Tura (71.79 per cent) and Rongjeng (71.85per cent).

The plain belts of Garo Hills which is considered as the strong hold of the Congress had high voters’ turn out. While Phulbari, the constituency of Assembly Speaker A T Mondal had 80.72 percent turnout, Rajabala had 84.70%.

While 65.47 percent women voted under Shillong seat, the percentage of male voters was 61.60 percent.

In contrast, male voters (78.20) outnumbered women voters (78.06) in Tura seat.

Counting centres: Meanwhile, the election department is waiting for a response from the Election Commission of India (ECI) regarding the counting centers for Shillong and Tura seats.

There was a direction from the EC to have only two centres, one in Shillong and another in Tura for counting of votes on May 16.

However, the election department has written to the EC requesting it to hold counting in 13 stations as it was done during the last Assembly elections.

The counting is planned in the headquarters of all the eleven districts and also in the two civil sub-divisions, Sohra and Shella.

The reason cited by the Election Department was that carrying the EVMs from remote areas to the headquarters of East Khasi Hills and West Garo Hills would be difficult.

“After we have written to the EC, the reply is awaited,” Naik said.

The election department has deployed adequate security forces around the strong rooms where the EVMs were kept.

Naik said that there is round the clock monitoring of the strong rooms as CCTVs were also installed.

 

Poll PERCENTAGE BREAK-UP

State highest: Mahendraganj 86.40%

CM’s constituency Ampati 85.29%

State lowest: Pynursla 52.65%

Tura seat lowest: Williamnagar 69.02%

Shillong seat highest: Khliehriat 83.42%

Shillong women voters: 65.47%

Shillong male voters: 61.60%

Tura women voters: 78.06%

Tura male voters: 78.20%