Meghalaya poll records 75 percent turnout

March 3rd, 2008 - 9:57 pm ICT by admin  

(Lead)

New Delhi, March 3 (IANS) Nearly 75 percent voters turned up to cast their votes in Meghalaya assembly polls Monday. “Voting passed off almost peacefully and according to preliminary reports, the voting percentage may go up as we are still getting inputs from remote areas,” an election official said.

People attired in their traditional tribal costumes were seen queuing up to cast their vote. Voting opened at 7 a.m. and ended at 4 p.m.

A total of 331 candidates representing 13 political parties and 73 independent candidates are in the fray in the single-phase polling in the hill state for the eighth Meghalaya state assembly.

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.

Heavy security arrangements had been made for peaceful conduct of polls. This included deployment of forest guards in some areas that are prone to elephant attacks.

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