75 per cent voters turn out in Meghalaya Assembly polls

March 3rd, 2008 - 8:22 pm ICT by admin  

Shillong, March 3 (ANI): A total of 75 per cent voters today cast their votes for 59 out of the 60 assembly seats in Meghalaya, election office sources have said.

Polling, which began on a brisk note, was affected for some time because of thunderstorm and rain in many parts of the state.

Chief Minister D D Lapang cast his vote at Nongpoh in Ribhoi district and Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) leader Purno A Sangma cast his ballot at Tura.

Till 1 p.m. 45 per cent polls were registered, election department sources said. People attired in their traditional tribal costumes lined up at polling booths in large numbers much before voting opened at 7 a.m. amid tight security.

According to reports from others parts of the state, there was heavy rush in areas of Garo hills in constituencies like Phulbari, Tura, Mahendraganj and Rajabala and the non-tribal areas in Khasi hills.

Meanwhile, some incidents of violence were reported on the eve of the assembly elections.

A clash between NCP and Congress supporters in Selsella constituency of West Garo hills district led to the death of one person late last night. Some others who were injured were admitted at a local hospital, police said.

Supporters of United Democratic Party and Congress also clashed in Nongpoh constituency - Chief Minister DD Lapang’s home constituency - of Ribhoi district, injuring 13 UDP workers.

In another incident, five persons were arrested by police in Jaintia hills district with a pistol and bullets.

Altogether 331 candidates, including six former chief ministers, are in fray for the elections to the eighth Meghalaya Assembly.

Six former Chief Ministers are D D Lapang, Purno A Sangma, Salseng C Marak, E K Mawlong, F A Khonglam and J D Rymbai.

The Congress is battling the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) and Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD), two major constituents of its Union coalition.

All Ministers except R G Lyngdoh, who holds the education portfolio in the Congress-led Lapang government, are seeking re-election.

The Congress is contesting all 60 seats in the state, while the United Democratic Party (UDP) has fielded its candidate on 52 constituencies and the NCP is contesting 50 seats.

The Election Commission has postponed the polling in Baghmara constituency after sitting Congress candidate S Sangma died of cancer. The election in the constituency has been re-scheduled for March 22.

Out of 1600 polling stations in the state, 635 have been declared hyper-sensitive and 194 as sensitive.

Adequate security personnel have been deployed to ensure free and fair elections.

Forty companies of paramilitary forces, including BSF, have been deployed to ensure free and fair polling.

Security has been beefed up along international and inter-state borders to prevent entry of anti-social elements.

The eighth Meghalaya Legislative Assembly will be constituted by March 10. (ANI)

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