State records over 66pc voting

Polling in Meghalaya
People stand in queue to cast their votes in one of the polling stations in Ri-Bhoi district on Wednesday. (PTI)

SHILLONG: Meghalaya recorded over 66 per cent polling with no untoward incidents reported from any quarters on Wednesday. There was an increase of just two per cent compared to the last 2009 Lok Sabha polls.
After the polling on Wednesday, the state had to wait more than a month to know the results as the counting will take place only on May 16.  The EVMs have already been taken to the designated strong rooms in 11 district headquarters and also at Sohra and Shella.
The bandh called by HNLC in Khasi-Jaintia Hills and the presence of militants in Garo Hills did not deter the voters from coming out to cast their votes. Moreover, the sunny weather was an added advantage.
With more security forces deployed in Garo Hills, there was thin presence of security personnel around the polling stations in Shillong.
While Shillong Lok Sabha constituency registered an overall percentage of around 62 which was the same in 2009, Tura had an overall turn-out of 74 per cent which is seven per cent more than the 2009  Lok Sabha elections.
Chief Electoral Officer P Naik said that the constituency wise poll percentage will be made available on Thursday as more details were awaited.
Asked about the poll boycott by HNLC, Naik said that the percentage above 60 indicates that people wanted to register their votes despite bandh and unrest. The election in Garo Hills was also peaceful and recorded more than 70 percent voters’ turn out as no organization boycotted the polls.
While nine EVMs malfunctioned during the polls, 14 EVMs had the same fate when the polling officers conducted trial half an  hour before the start of the polling.
In Mawprem Nepali Presbyterian UP and LP School polling station under Shillong West Assembly segment, voting began at 8 am due to the malfunctioning of EVM.
The first female voter cast her vote only at 8 am at the polling booth for women at Mawprem Nepali Presbyterian UP and LP School polling station
An election official said that the delay may be due to the replacement of new EVM at the polling station affected by technical snarl.
There were reports that at Tura Aarialmile evening school polling station, though 18 persons voted, 32 votes were shown to have registered.
The chief electoral officer said that it was due to the votes registered during the trial of EVM carried out  prior to the commencement of poll.
There were not many youths coming out to cast their votes despite the efforts of the Election Department to woo the youngsters. There are 21,000 newly registered voters within the age group between 18 and 19.
Moreover, many old and middle aged voters gathered in many polling stations as early as 6 am and not many youths.
There were large queues of more women voters in almost all polling booths compared to their male counter parts.
Ramps, which were meant to help the differently-abled to have free access in polling stations were missing in this election.
In Shillong, there were eight candidates, including lone woman candidate Ivoryna Shylla, who is fighting as an Independent.
Prominent candidates in the state capital include sitting Congress member Vincent H. Pala, Paul Lyngdoh (United Democratic Party), Shibun Lyngdoh (Bharatiya Janata Party) and P.B.M. Basaiawmoit (Independent).
In Tura, former Lok Sabha speaker and National People’s Party candidate Purno A. Sangma is pitted against Daryl William Cheran Momin of the Congress.

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