Shillong: Polling began to elect 60 members to the ninth Meghalaya Assembly from among 345 candidates on Wednesday with an electorate of 15.3 lakh. Banned Khasi organisation, Hynniewtrep National Liberation Council, has called a 36-hour bandh from 6.00 pm on Friday till Saturday in the seven districts of Khasi and Jaintia Hills region.
Prominent candidates in the fray are Chief Minister Mukul Sangma, Home Minister HDR Lyngdoh, Education Minister RC Laloo, Congress president DD Lapang, UDP president Don Kupar Roy, former Leader of Opposition and son of PA Sangma Conrad K Sangma and his brother James Sangma.
The Congress has put up candidates in all 60 seats, and ally United Democratic Party in 50. Of the 15 parties in the fray, the PA Sangma-led National Peoples' Party is contesting at 32 seats, the NCP at 21 and the BJP in 13. Among the candidates are 25 women.
Of the 2,845 polling stations, 900 have been declared 'hyper-sensitive'. Booths along the international border and the inter-state border with Assam have also been categorised as 'hyper-sensitive'. The BSF, which has been put on maximum alert along the 498-km border, has deployed 10,000 personnel.
Ninety-one companies of central paramilitary forces have been deployed in the state to maintain law and order and 44 companies in the militant-hit Garo Hills region.