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Meghalaya’s autonomous polls: over 70 % voters turn-out
Correspondent SHILLONG, FEB 10:
Published on 11 Feb. 2009 2:23 AM IST
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Elections to the two district councils in Meghalaya, Khasi Hills Autonomous District Council (KHADC) and Jaintia Hills Autonomous District Council (JHADC) to elect 29 councilors each passed off peacefully barring a mob damaging an Electronic Voting Machine. Heavy security cover has been provided for the poll even as allegations of threats and intimidation were reported by different political parties during the day-long polling. Polling began at 7 a.m on a sluggish note in all the 910 polling stations. However, voting picked up by afternoon. Re-polling has been ordered in Iapmala polling station under Bataw’s JHADC constituency after a mob damaged an Electronic Voting Machine hours before the voting began at 7 a.m, Jaintia Hills district deputy commissioner SK Goyal said. He said re-polling in the affected polling station would be held on February 12. Commissioner and secretary in-charge District Council Affairs CD Kynjing said that the voters turn out are expected over 70 per cent in both the KHADC and JHADC elections. Elections to the Garo Hills Autonomous District Council would be held on February 12. Counting of votes for the KHADC and JHADC would take places on February 13 and for the GHADC counting would take place on February 16. For the first time electronic voting machines (EVMs) with Braille-coded push buttons for being used for the Meghalaya’s Autonomous Councils elections. The total number of electorate in KHADC is 5, 30,599 and JHADC is 1, 65,166. There are 144 candidates, including 10 women candidates are in the fray for the KHADC, and 120 candidates, including four women candidates in the JHADC. Five sitting MLAs are also seeking election to KHADC including deputy speaker of the state assembly Sanbor Shullai (Nationalist Congress Party) from Laban-Mawprem, parliamentary secretary Remington Pyngrope (United Democratic Party) from Dienglieng, Ronnie V Lyngdoh (Congress) from Mylliem, Pynshngain N Syiem (Congress) from Mawsynram and H Donkupar Roy Lyngdoh (Congress) from Nongspung-Sohiong constituency. In the 910 polling stations, 128 have been identified as hyper sensitive and 267 sensitive with over 3,640 polling personnel heading to their respective destinations to oversee the smooth conduct of polls. Moreover, assisting these officials would be state police personnel, CRPF jawans and Home Guards, besides deployment of Quick Reaction Team to ensure free and fair poll. Even as the district council elections do not have the same importance as the Assembly election, but all the political parties including the national parties like the Congress, Nationalist Congress Party and the BJP keenly spar it.

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