Counting of votes in Tripura and Meghalaya begins

March 7th, 2008 - 10:14 am ICT by admin  

Shillong/Agartala, March 7 (IANS) Counting of votes began Friday in two northeastern states - Tripura and Meghalaya, elections to whose assemblies were held recently, officials said. Election officials said counting of ballots was underway in the two states since 8 a.m.

“Trends are expected soon, while final results are likely to be out by afternoon,” a poll official said.

Tripura made electoral history in India when a record 92 percent of the 2.03 million voters exercised their franchise in the Feb 23 election to the 60-member assembly. The Tripura elections would decide the fate of 313 candidates, including 31 women and 64 independents.

In Meghalaya, over 75 percent of the total of 1.2 million electorates cast their ballots March 3 to decide the electoral fortune of 331 candidates representing 13 political parties and 73 independent candidates.

Polling in the Bagmara constituency of Meghalaya was countermanded following the death of a candidate. The vote in Meghalaya would determine the fate of six former chief ministers - D.D. Lapang, Purno A. Sangma, Salseng C. Marak, E.K. Mawlong, F.A. Khonglam and J.D. Rymbai.

The ruling Congress party and the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) have emerged as the main contenders to form the next government in Christian majority Meghalaya.

While the Congress is contesting all the 60 seats, the United Democratic Party (UDP) has put up candidates in 52 seats and the NCP in 50.

In Tripura, the ruling Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) led Left Front is pitted against the Congress-Indigenous Nationalist Party of Tripura (INPT) and Party for Democratic Socialism (PDS) alliance in the battle for political supremacy.

Friday’s result will decide the fate of Chief Minister Manik Sarkar, his 10 cabinet colleagues, two former chief ministers - Samir Ranjan Burman and Sudhir Ranjan Majumder, Rajmata Bibhu Kumari Devi, opposition leader Ratan Lal Nath, INPT president and former militant leader Bijoy Kumar Hrangkhawl and a host of other leaders.

The Left Front has been in power since 1978, barring one term during 1988 to 1993. In 2003, the Left Front won in 41 seats followed by the Congress in 13 and its ally INPT in six.

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