Shella by-poll records 84.56 per cent turnout

SHILLONG: The Shella bypoll witnessed 84.56 per cent voters turnout on Monday, which is marginally less than the last election.

Of the total 29,790 electors in Shella, 25,191 turned up for the polling that was held from 7am to 5pm. The afternoon rain hindered polling for some time but it picked up soon after the rain stopped. In the last Assembly election in 2018, the polling percentage was 85.34 per cent.

At Laitjem, the VVPAT machine failed and had to be replaced, CEO Frederick Kharkongor said.

The total number of male and female voters on Monday was 12,631 and 12,560, respectively.

There were two all-women polling stations and one eco-friendly and one PwD (Persons with Disabilities) booth. Poll and green volunteers were seen helping voters, especially the elderly and PwD electors.

Skylo, a satellite-based application that was used for the first time this by-poll for receiving real-time messages from remote places, was a hit. Kharkongor said messages were received on time and faster than information from areas with connectivity.

Now, preparations are on for counting on Thursday.

The by-poll was necessitated following the death of sitting Shella MLA and Assembly Speaker Donkupar Roy on July 28.

The candidates in the fray in the by-election are Roy’s son Balajiedkupar Synrem (UDP), Komen Laitmon and Grace Kharpuri (Independents), Batyngshain Laitmon Ryngnga (Congress), Joshua Warjri (BJP) and Mosjo Rock F. Wanswett(PDF).

Among the 58 polling stations, there were 12 polling booths which cannot be reached by vehicles, including the famed Nongriat double-decker living root bridge. Kalatek polling station is accessible only by boat.

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