Moderate to brisk polling underway in Meghalaya

March 3rd, 2008 - 2:54 pm ICT by admin  


Shillong, March 3 (IANS) Moderate to brisk polling amid tight security was underway Monday in the northeastern state of Meghalaya for elections to the 60-member assembly, officials said. “Voting is going on peacefully so far and the enthusiasm has been very encouraging. In some areas, voting was on at a brisk pace,” an election official said.

People attired in their traditional tribal costumes were seen queuing up to cast their vote. Voting began at 7 a.m. and would continue till 4 p.m.

Those who cast their ballot include former speaker of Lok Sabha Purno Agitok Sangma in Tura in the West Garo Hills district of Meghalaya. Sangma, a candidate for the Nationalist Socialist Council, is contesting the assembly elections from Tura after announcing his retirement from national politics. His two sons are also contesting the elections as Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) candidates.

A total of 331 candidates representing 13 political parties and 73 independents are in the fray in the single-phase polling in the hill state for the eighth Meghalaya state assembly. Polling in one constituency has been postponed following the death of a candidate.

More than 1.2 million people are eligible to cast their ballots with counting of votes scheduled for May 7.

The vote would determine the fate of six former chief ministers - Sangma, D.D Lapang, Salseng C. Marak, E.K. Mawlong, F.A. Khonglam and J.D. Rymbai. The ruling Congress party, the NCP and the United Democratic Party (UDP) have emerged as the three main parties trying to form the next government in Christian majority Meghalaya.

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

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