Massive turnout in Meghalaya bypoll

Shillong, June 27 (IANS) Balloting in the assembly by-election in Meghalaya’s Chokpot constituency passed off peacefully on Saturday, with 75 percent of the total 24,244 electorate casting their votes, an election official said.

“The latest voter turnout recorded till 5 p.m. was 75 percent. We are expecting the turnout to cross 80 percent,” Chief Electoral Officer Prashant Naik told IANS over phone.

The by-election was necessitated following the death of Garo National Council legislator Clifford R. Marak early this year.

Polling started at 8 a.m. and ended at 5 p.m. No untoward incident was reported despite apprehensions of violence in the constituency, the official said.

Men and women in large numbers queued up in front of the 46 polling stations well before voting began at 7 a.m. despite a spell of heavy rain, Naik said.

Fearing violence, the state election department deployed eight companies of central forces to ensure smooth conduct of the by-election. The Border Security Force sealed the India-Bangladesh border along the South Garo Hills district.

“There was no poll-related incident and the election was conducted in a free and fair manner,” Naik said.

Clifford Marak’s wife Kalpana D. Sangma is contesting on the party symbol ‘Battery Torch’ for the Garo National Council. She faces Congress candidate Bluebell R. Sangma, National People’s Party candidate Phillipole D. Marak and independent candidate Tinkerwin R. Marak.

Political observers say the main fight is between the Congress and the NPP.


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