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Fate of ten candidates to be known today

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Our Bureau

SHILLONG/TURA/NONGPOH, June 3: After a wait of more than a month, Meghalaya is on the cusp of the D-Day.
The fate of the state’s 10 candidates will be known on Tuesday when the results of Lok Sabha elections are declared.
Six candidates – state Congress chief and sitting MP Vincent H Pala, Ampareen Lyngdoh (National People’s Party), Ricky AJ Syngkon (Voice of the People Party), Robertjune Kharjahrin (Regional Democratic Alliance), Lakhon Kma and Peter Shallam (both Independent) – contested the polls from Shillong.
Tura had four candidates – Zenith M Sangma (Trinamool Congress), Saleng A Sangma (Congress), sitting MP Agatha Sangma (National People’s Party) and Labenn Ch Marak (Independent).
The elections were keenly contested in both seats.
Elaborate arrangements have been made at the counting Centre in Shillong to ensure that the entire process passes off without any glitches.
Accompanied by the state’s Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) BDR Tiwari and East Khasi Hills Deputy Commissioner SC Sadhu, Chief Secretary DP Wahlang on Monday inspected the counting centre in Shillong. He expressed his satisfaction over the arrangements.
Shillong and Tura have 14,00,411 and 8,26,156 voters respectively. The number of service voters in Shillong is 2,481. It is 1,403 in Tura.
The number of postal ballots for counting (for general voters, till 1 pm of June 3) in Shillong is 4,093. It is 3,320 in Tura. Similarly, the number of postal ballots for counting (for service voters, till 1 pm of June 3) in Shillong is 1,491. It is 890 in Tura.
12 Counting Observers will be deployed in Shillong and 6 in Tura. The numbers of Counting Officials in Shillong and Tura will be 1,269 and 836 respectively.
The counting of votes will begin at 8. Altogether 369 tables will be used across 7 districts under the Shillong seat and 244 tables across 5 districts under the Tura seat.
The votes in Mawlai Assembly segment will be counted in 9 rounds. It is the largest constituency in terms of the number of voters.
The CEO told reporters all preparations are in place and that the DC has assessed the law and order situation to ensure that there is no untoward incidents.
“We don’t see any probability of violence in the state,” Tiwari said.
The election department claimed that it has not come across any lapses at any level in the arrangements.
Arrangement at counting centres adequate: Chief Secretary
Chief Secretary, Donald Phillips Wahlang said he is satisfied with the overall arrangement for the counting of votes to be held for the Shillong Parliamentary seat at Polo ground on Tuesday.
He told reporters after visiting the counting centres that he discussed with the East Khasi Hills Superintendent of Police and the venue has an adequate quantum of force.
“I am sure that the counting will be conducted effectively tomorrow (Tuesday) starting at 8 am. We are satisfied with the arrangement,” he said.
East Khasi Hills Deputy Commissioner and the returning officer of the Shillong seat, SC Sadhu said all arrangements have been made to ensure that the counting is done efficiently and in a transparent manner involving all political parties.
“We are ensuring no unauthorised person enters the counting premises,” he said.
He said the district administration decided to relax the order to impose Section 144 of the CrPC against victory rallies and processions on the result day after requests from the political parties and other stakeholders, including the traditional heads.
Sadhu said they asked the political parties and the candidates to take adequate measures from their side to ensure that no untoward incidents happen. The political parties and the candidates have also been instructed to give advance notice about the routes to be taken for such processions.
He said the political parties will also have to deploy volunteers and brief their teams to ensure no one is disturbed during a procession. “Section 144 is still in force around the counting centres,” he added.
“The inner layer of the counting premises will be manned by the CAPF and the outer layer by the state police. Only vehicles with passes will be allowed to enter the three-layer security area,” Sadhu said, adding that 450 to 500 personnel have been engaged in the counting process.
Meanwhile, in order to ensure the smooth conduct of counting of votes, the West Garo Hills DC has declared areas within the ISBT compound at Chasingre a pedestrian zone from 7:30 am till the results are declared.
A candidate or those accompanying him can take a maximum of three vehicles inside the compound. Official vehicles and vehicles of candidates are to be parked in the parking areas prior to 7:30 am.
The District Election Officer (DEO) of Ri-Bhoi District on Monday held a meeting with the Counting Supervisors, Electoral Registration Officers and Assistant Electoral Registration Officers in Nongpoh in the presence of representatives of all political parties for necessary arrangements for the counting of votes at the Indoor Sports Stadium, Umlyngkdait.
The DEO said the purpose of the meeting was to brief the political parties about the various rules of counting, mandate of the Election Commission, requirements of various forms for signatures and procedure of counting. The parties were reminded about the promulgation of Section 144 of the CrPC for the maintenance of law and order in the entire district.

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