Counting begins for Tripura, Meghalaya Assembly polls

March 7th, 2008 - 12:22 pm ICT by admin  

Agartala/ Shillong, Mar 7 (ANI): Counting of votes for the single-phased Tripura and Meghalaya Assembly elections have begun this morning, amidst tight security.

The counting is being underway in 19 centres in Tripura. The results are likely to be officially announced in the afternoon.

Besides, 700 observers and 2,500 counting personnel, a three-tier security arrangement has been made around each counting hall of the state.

Prohibitory orders have already been imposed in and around the counting stations. All police stations and border outposts along the 856 km Indo-Bangla border in the state have also been alerted.

The state police have taken precautions in sensitive localities of the state to avoid any kind of untoward incident.

The poll that witnessed a 70 per cent turnout in the election to the 60-member Tripura Assembly on February23, are expected to decide the fate of 313 candidates, including 28 women.

Election department officials said that 85 per cent votes were cast in the state capital.

The ruling CPI (M)-led Left Front is locked in a direct fight with the opposition Congress-Indigenous Nationalist Party of Tripura (INPT) alliance.

Some of the prominent candidates are Chief Minister Manik Sarkar, Information Minster Anil Sarkar, the PCC president and former chief Minister, Samir Ranjan Barman, the former Chief Minister and Congress leader, Sudhir Ranjan Mazumdar, and the former underground leader, Bijoy Kumar Hrangkhal of the Indigenous Nationalist Party of Twipra (INPT).

In Meghalaya, the counting is being held in 15 places across the state.

Besides, three places in Shillong, votes are being counted in centres at the district headquarters and sub-divisional offices.

About 2000 polling personnel and 39 election observers have been deployed in the polling stations.

Several companies of security personnel have also been pressed into service at the counting centers.

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.

A total of 75 per cent electorate cast their votes for 59 out of the 60 assembly seats on March 3.

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

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