Meghalaya polls : Over 800 nomination papers filed

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Shillong, Feb 15 (UNI) More than 800 nomination papers were filed by prospective candidates for the March three Meghalaya Assembly election.

Today was the last day of filing nominations.

The current term of the Meghalaya Assembly ends on March 10.

According to election officials, over 300 nomination papers were filed during the past eight days either as nominees of various parties or as Independent candidates.

Yesterday, 103 nomination papers were filed.

Till the filing of report, the state election office here had not been able to compile complete list of those who filed papers.

Chief Minister D D Lapang, former Chief Ministers J D Rymbai, S C Marak, Dr F A Khonglam, E K Mawlong and nine-time Lok Sabha MP P A Sangma filed their candidature for the eighth Assembly election.

Assembly Speaker and his Deputy Martin M Danggo and Phingwell Muktieh also filed their nomination papers.

Of the 12 Cabinet Ministers, sitting Congress MLA and Minister in-charge Education R G Lyngdoh opted out of this poll.

Rebels of almost all the parties also filed their papers from various constituencies.

The Congress had fielded 60 candidates with no pre-poll allies with its coalition partners the United Democratic Party, Meghalaya Democratic Party, Hill State People's Democratic Party and Khun Hynniewtrep National Awakening Movement.

Opposition Nationalist Congress Party, which projected former Lok Sabha Speaker P A Sangma as its Chief Ministerial candidate, fielded 50 candidates, while the BJP fielded 20 candidates.

The last date of withdrawal of nominations is February 18.

Counting of votes will take place on March 7.

In the 60-member House, 55 seats are reserved for the Scheduled Tribes.

The total number of voters in Meghalaya is 12,30,152.

Female voters account for the highest number of electorate at 6,25,534.

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 electorate.

The state election department had declared 635 polling stations 'hyper sensitive' and 194 'sensitive' of the total 1582 polling booths.

The Centre had sanctioned 50 companies of additional central paramilitary forces for smooth conduct of the polls. Most of these forces will be deployed in areas classified as 'hyper sensitive' and 'sensitive'.

Meanwhile, 39 election observers had arrived the state to oversee the election.

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