Counting of votes in Tripura and Meghalaya Friday

March 6th, 2008 - 5:22 pm ICT by admin  

Shillong/Agartala, March 6 (IANS) Counting of votes in the two north-eastern states - Tripura and Meghalaya elections for which were held recently - will take place Friday. “Counting of ballots would be undertaken simultaneously across both the states and results are expected by afternoon,” election officials 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 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 has been postponed in the Bagmara constituency following the death of a candidate.

The vote 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, the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) and the United Democratic Party (UDP) have emerged as the three main contenders to form the next government in Christian majority Meghalaya.

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

In Tripura, ruling Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) led Left Front is facing the alliance of Congress, Indigenous Nationalist Party of Tripura (INPT) and Party for Democratic Socialism (PDS) 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, Indigenous Nationalist Party of Tripura (INPT) president and former militant leader Bijoy Kumar Hrangkhawl and a host of other leaders.

The Left Front, which has been in power since 1978, barring one term (1988-1993), has faced a setback with ally Forward Bloc fielding its own candidates in 12 constituencies.

In 2003, Left Front won in 41 seats followed by the Congress in 13 and its ally INPT in six.

Counting of votes would be undertaken Saturday in Nagaland, where 85 percent of the 1.3 million electorate cast their votes Wednesday to determine the fate of 218 candidates - 60 from the Congress, 56 belonging to the NPF, 23 from the BJP, 25 from the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) and eight from the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) among others.

“A three-tier security system would be set up in each of the counting halls and Central Paramilitary Force (CPMF) personnel would be deployed in the first row,” said G.S.G. Ayyangar, chief electoral officer of Tripura.

He said: “Prohibitory orders have been promulgated in and around the counting centres across Tripura while security forces have launched intense patrolling to prevent any post poll violence.”

“For the first time a large numbers of counting observers have been engaged to assist the general observers, appointed by the Election Commission,” Ayyangar added.

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