West Khasi Hills registers 67 pc voting
NONGPOH/ NONGSTOIN: A huge turnout of electorates in the five MDC constituencies of Ri Bhoi District on Monday gave a clear indication that the people of the district supported the existence of the District Councils in the State. The overall percentage of turnout was recorded at 77.62 per cent at the close of polling at 4 pm.
Polling ended on a peaceful note with no report of any untoward incident recorded from any part of the District, even after the end of polling. The turnout was thin in the early hours of voting but picked up pace in the afternoon.
Mawhati constituency registered the highest turnout of voters with 82.45 per cent followed by Umroi with 79.14 per cent, Nongpoh (78.05 per cent), Umsning (75 per cent) and Jirang (74.13 per cent).
Incidentally, unlike in the Assembly elections where the polling agents of various candidates and political parties handing out unofficial voting tickets to the electorates had to be at minimum of 200 meters distance from the polling stations, the polling agents in the many polling booths were seen sitting within 20 meters distance from the polling stations, while some were even seated just five meters from the polling booth.
West Khasi Hills District recorded a total turnout of approximately 67 per cent in the five constituencies.
A total of 20 candidates, including three sitting legislators, are in the fray from the district, making it a keenly observed district.
West Jaintia Hills recorded an aggregate turnout of 89.77 per cent while in East Jaintia Hills, the turnout was approximately between 85-90 per cent. Details were still pouring in at the time of filing of this report.
The legislators – Metbah Lyngdoh (UDP) from Mairang, Brolding Nongsiej (UDP) from Mawthadraishan and KP Pangniang (HSPDP) from Rambrai- Jyrngam – have given it all in their bid to capture the district council seats.
Setting the record for perhaps the lowest ever turnout of voters in any election, Shyrkon polling station under Nongstoin constituency had a total turnout of below 2 per cent with only seven voters casting their votes out of a total of 355 people enlisted in the electoral rolls.
The dismal turnout of voters was attributed to the recent decision of five organisations based in Maweit to boycott the district council elections in eight polling stations of the area.
The boycott had the backing of as many as 55 villages spread out across the eight polling stations.
In a recent public meeting, leaders of the five organisations along with the headmen and residents of the 55 villages had unanimously resolved to boycott not only the KHADC polls but also the upcoming Lok Sabha polls, in protest against the adamant attitude of the PWD (Roads) in ignoring the pleas and ultimatum by the people of the area to repair the Nongstoin- Maweit road.
However, some of the village heads later withdrew their boycott decision.
Meanwhile, election observers in Ri Bhoi District are of the opinion that going by the present wave, the Congress and the UDP are likely to bag two seats each while an Independent is likely to win the fifth seat in the district.
The UDP is likely to win the Umsning and Nongpoh seats while Mawhati and Jirang would go to the Congress, said the observers, while predicting that Independent candidate MD Syiem is likely to win the election from the Umroi seat.
The observers foresee a keenly-fought contest between Congress candidate Victor Ranee and HSPDP’s woman candidate Nosy Lyngdoh in Jirang, but feel that Ranee, who enjoys the patronage of sitting Jirang legislator L Mylliemngap and former MLA JD Rymbai, would probably represent the seat in the KHADC. Others in the fray from Jirang include UDP candidate B Syiemiong, KHNAM candidate K Thongni and Independent candidate A Lapang.
Meanwhile, the contest in the prestigious constituency of Nongpoh is likely to occur between UDP candidate and lady advocate Rona Khymdeit and Congress candidate Augustine Wahlang, with HSPDP candidate B Nongmalieh predicted to remain behind, the observers said, while mentioning that Khymdeit has the better chance to represent the seat.
Mawhati is expected to witness a close contest between a Church elder and Congress candidate RB Shadap and surrendered HNLC cadre and Independent candidate James Sylliang. However, sitting MDC Otril Pamshong, who is contesting as an Independent candidate, is also expected to win a large number of votes, considering that he boasts of a significant voice in the area.
The newly created constituency of Umsning is predicted to witness a close contest between UDP candidate Donkupar Sumer and Congress candidate Dipul Ryntathiang. However, the entry of former Congress leader Carlos Kharkongor as an Independent candidate might spoil the game for the Congress.
Meanwhile in Umroi, a triangular contest is being predicted between Congressman Albinus Lyngdoh, Independent candidate MD Syiem and UDP candidate K Hinge. The UDP candidate enjoys the support of sitting MDC Fabian Lyngdoh and former MDC FM Mawphniang.