Meghalaya creates benchmark on EPICs

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Shillong, Jan 17 (UNI) Meghalaya has created a benchmark for other states in the country by successfully issuing Electoral Photo Identity Cards (EPICs) to 99.95 per cent voters in the state.

''The state has 12,30,152 voters with 6,25,534 female voters and 6,04,618 male voters. We will ensure that all the voters would be covered under the EPICs before the elections,'' Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) P Naik said here today.

Assembly elections will be held in Meghalaya on March three and the counting will be held on March seven.

''It is a benchmark we have created and I am sure other states would follow suit,'' Mr Naik said.

In the voters list, the Tura constituency of the West Garo Hills district registered the highest number of voters with 39,706 electors, while the Nongstoin constituency of West Khasi Hills district came a close second with 34,945 and Rymbai in Ri-Bhoi district third with 29,652.

The constituency with the lowest number of voters was Mawkhar constituency with 7,762 electors.

Mr Naik informed that during the elections, only EPIC holders would be considered eligible to vote.

''The Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) has made it clear that only EPIC holders would be allowed to cast their votes,'' the CEO said.

In the earlier elections, voters without EPICs were allowed to vote, if their names were on the voters list, after producing proof of citizenship.

Meanwhile, Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) N Gopalaswami, along with two other Election Commissioners, was scheduled to arrive here tomorrow to review the poll preparedness for the upcoming Assembly elections in Meghalaya.

Mr Gopalaswami will hold discussions with Chief Secretary Ranjan Chatterjee, Director General of Police B K Dey Sawian, Deputy Commissioners and Police Superintendents and the State Election Commission, District Magistrates and political parties.

Election Commissioners S Y Quraishi and Navin B Chawla will accompany the CEC.

UNI RRK DPM/src1423

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