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75 per cent cast votes in Meghalaya
K Anurag in Guwahati | March 03, 2008 08:00 IST
Last Updated: March 03, 2008 20:23 IST
An estimated 75 per cent voters participated in Monday's polling to elect their representatives to the 8th Meghalaya Assembly from 59 constituencies spread over all the seven districts of the hill state amid tight security.
An official manning the election control room in Shillong said the final polling percentage would be calculated only after receiving final reports from many poling stations in far flung locations.
Polling though began in a quick pace at seven hours only to be affected later in many parts of the state by thunder storm and heavy showers for some time. The polling, which was held under tight security remained by and large peaceful throughout the state.
The fate of 331 candidates from different political parties, including six former chief ministers of the state -- D D Lapang, Purno A Sangma, Salseng C Marak, E K Mawlong, F A Khonglam and J D Rymbai � were sealed in ballot boxes.
The Congress is contesting all 59 seats. The regional United Democratic Party (UDP) fielded 53 candidates while the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) has fielded 49 candidates. There are 73 Independents in the fray.
Heavy polling were reported from the plain areas of Garo hills in the state with tribal people draped in traditional attire and armed with photo identity cards (PICs) thronging polling booths in large numbers in places like Tura, Mahendraganj, Phulbari, Rajabala. Over 99 per cent of the total 12, 32, 907 voters in Meghalaya hold PICs.
As per the voters' list women voters (626711) voters outnumber their male counterparts (606196) in the hill state where there were only 19 women candidates in fray.
Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) equipped with specially Braille-code buttons and special ramps for the physically challenged were kept ready in 1,599 polling stations all over the state. Polling was conducted under the supervision of over 15,000 polling officials.
The polling was video-graphed in 560 'critical' polling stations.