Shillong: Twelve per cent of the electorate exercised their franchise in the first two hours of voting for the 60-member Meghalaya Assembly. Chief Election Officer P Naik said polling has been peaceful so far and no untoward incident has been reported from any part of the state.
Home department sources said the 36-hour bandh called by Hynniewtrep National Liberation Council (HNLC) in Khasi Jaintia Hills region comprising six districts had very little impact and people were seen queueing up to cast their votes defying the diktat of the banned outfit.
East Khasi Hills district police chief M Kharkrang said voting was peaceful and there was no untoward incident in his jurisdiction. Official sources said the situation was also peaceful in West Khasi Hills, South West Khasi Hills, Ri bhoi and East and West Jaintia Hills districts where polling is on amidst tight security in view of the bandh.
There were, however, very few vehicles on the road in view of the bandh in Khasi Jaintia hills region, police said. Voters were seen queueing up at the booths prior to the stipulated time in the capital city. In the interior villages, tribal people, mainly women dressed in their traditional attire were seen walking up to the booths.
A total 15,03,907 voters, including 7,59,608 women, will exercise their franchise in the elections being contested by 345 candidates belonging to 15 political parties besides independents.
Ninety one companies of central paramilitary forces have been deployed to maintain law and order in the state during polling. BSF has sealed the 498 km-long border with Bangladesh and deployed additional forces to prevent any infiltration.