Tura records over 75pc turnout

Congress candidate Dikkanchi D Shira along with her husband Chief Minister Mukul Sangma and their daughter after casting their votes at Chengkompara LP school polling station in Ampati on Monday; NPP candidate Conrad K Sangma and his family after casting his vote at Gondongpara polling station of Selsella. (ST)

TURA: Over 75 per cent of the total 6,22,189 electorate cast their votes on Monday as polling ended peacefully for the by-election to the Tura Lok Sabha with no report of any untoward incident.
At the time of going to press the poll percentage was a staggering 77 percent and rising in the entire five districts of Garo Hills as voters came out in droves to elect a new successor for Late P A Sangma, a political leader who went undefeated in nine consecutive Parliamentary elections from Tura. The final percentage will be known by Tuesday only.
This was an election which witnessed aggressive campaigning that also resulted in extensive voting.
West Garo Hills district that holds the largest segment of eleven assembly segments for the Tura seat had a tally of 70.63 percent of votes polled on Monday.
The mood of the voter could be gauged from the fact that there were long queues at many places including Tura town where women voters turned up in large numbers.
People turned up as early as 5 am at some polling stations of Tura and Williamnagar to register their votes and ended up being rewarded with an award for being the first voters of the day.
No untoward incident was reported from any part of the region that went to polls although a complaint was made with the election officials against a polling official who allegedly closed his station at Aglanggre area of Tura before the Election Commission’s 4 pm timeframe.
The rains did play truant at the initial stage lashing the length and breadth ofe Garo Hills during the early morning hours, but nature failed to deter the enthusiastic voters, a large chunk of whom happened to be in the age of 18-35 years.
As many as eleven EVMs were reported to have malfunctioned at the start of the polling process but were quickly replaced to ensure smooth polling. Seven EVMs in West Garo Hills, 2 in North, and one each in East and South West Garo Hills had malfunctioned and were replaced.
Conrad positive, Dikkanchi confident:  The two contenders for the Tura Lok Sabha seat, Congress’s Dikkanchi D Shira and NPP’s Conrad K Sangma, believe the voter turnout has been in their favour.
“It was a hectic election campaign and I am positive of the outcome. I believe the people of Garo Hills have reposed their faith in our party,” said Conrad K Sangma who arrived at Gandopara polling station of Selsella, accompanied by his wife and family, to cast his vote.
Congress candidate Dikkanchi Shira arrived at Chengkompara polling station of Ampati dressed in a traditional Garo Dakmanda accompanied by husband and chief minister Mukul Sangma and their daughter.
“I am confident the people of Garo Hills are convinced with my campaign and will vote for me,” said Dikkanchi Shira.
“The turnout demonstrates peoples’ faith in the democratic system. I am happy to see the trend and confident of Congress Party’s victory,” added chief minister Mukul Sangma.
Conrad Sangma’s elder brother and sitting legislator from Dadenggre, James Pangsang K Sangma, was at his home constituency with his family to cast their ballot.
Their youngest sister and former union minister of state Agatha K Sangma accompanied their mother and P A Sangma’s widow Soradini K Sangma to Walbakgre school polling station, near their home in Tura, to cast their vote.