Shillong: Over 88 per cent of votes were cast on Saturday for the 60 Assembly seats in Meghalaya where polling was held in a peaceful manner, barring stray incidents. Chief Electoral Officer P Naik said polling was peaceful in the state except for a few stray incidents, detailed reports of which were awaited. Chief Minister Mukul Sangma and three former chief ministers - state Congress chief DD Lapang, party leader SC Marak and United Democratic Party chief Donkupar Roy - are among the high-profile candidates whose fate were sealed by 15 lakh voters.
Defying the 36-hour bandh called by the Hynniewtrep National Liberation Council (HNLC), people in large numbers were still queueing up beyond the stipulated time of 4 pm in several polling stations in the Garo hills, election officials
said. Reports stated that a woman candidate of the BJP has sought repoll in at least four polling stations under Wahjajer constituency in West Jaintia Hills district. Police have rounded up eight persons and arrested a BJP supporter for allegedly trying to break the EVM in one of the polling stations there.
The candidate, VN Lamare, however, alleged that polling agents from the Congress "chased her agents", besides threatening to assault them and demanded repoll from the Election Commission. The ruling Congress is the only party contesting all the 60 seats followed by the UDP in 50 seats. The PA Sangma-led National Peoples' Party, in the opposition, is contesting in 32 seats.
Election officials said an electorate of 15,03,907, including 7,59,608 women, exercised their franchise in the elections being contested by 345 candidates belonging to 15 political parties and independents, including 25 women. Altogether 91 companies of central paramilitary forces have been deployed to maintain law and order in the state. The BSF has sealed the 498 km-long border with Bangladesh and deployed additional forces to prevent any attempt of the rebels to cross over and disrupt the poll process. In view of the bandh, the government had deployed around 100 public transport vehicles in the capital city and the East Khasi Hills district for the convenience of voters.