5 lakh voters to decide fate of 162 candidates tomorrow

GHADC elections: Campaigning comes to an end

TURA: The dust of the election trail which spanned over a month in Garo Hills finally settled with campaigning for the October 12 GHADC polls coming to a close on Saturday at 4pm.
Amid the protest from pressure groups and militants against the participation of non- tribals in the GHADC polls, the campaigning has been a low key affair despite political parties reaching out to the voters.
Many political leaders had to witness either low crowd or face protests from the pressure groups during their campaigns.
For the Congress the campaigning ended with chief minister Mukul Sangma holding his last election meeting in his home bastion — Ampati.
The NPP supremo P A Sangma was at Damalgre village wooing votes for his party candidate Learmildford A Sangma, who is contesting from Dengnakpara  constituency against Congress heavyweight Sadhia Rani M Sangma, wife of Zenith Sangma, younger brother of the chief minister.
A total of 162 candidates are vying for a total of 29 seats in GHADC.
While as many as 79 independents are in the fray the number of candidates party wise include Congress (29), NPP (26), UDP (14), BJP (6), NCP and GNC (4 each).
While Congress had highlighted various development initiatives being carried out by the Government to woo the voters, its principal rival NPP has been banking on anti-incumbency by highlighting the alleged lawlessness in Garo Hills.
Over 5 lakh voters will decide the fate of the candidates in the GHADC polls, the results of which will be declared on October 15.
An official with the District Council Affairs department said on Friday that all arrangements have been made to ensure a peaceful election.
The polling personnel started leaving for their respective polling stations on Saturday.
The official said that during the briefing, it was made known to the polling officers that the ruling of the High Court was specific that they should carry out their duty and should not give ear to any bandh call given by any organization.
Police have already deployed security forces – as many as 15 companies – to ensure smooth conduct of polls and to check any disruption of polls from any quarters.
A senior police official said that the Centre had agreed to the request of state government not to withdraw the central paramilitary forces and the IRBN personnel posted in the state in view of Bihar elections.
“From all the states, the Centre had withdrawn forces for the Bihar polls except Meghalaya considering the vulnerable situation in Garo Hills,” the official added.
An additional 30 per cent of the forces from Eastern Range of the state will be deployed for the GHADC polls.

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