12.30 lakh voters to decide fate of 331 candidates

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Shillong, Feb 18 (UNI) More than 12.30 lakh voters would exercise their franchise in 60 constituencies to decide the fate of 331 candidates, including six former Chief Ministers, in the March three Meghalaya Assembly election.

In all 344 candidates' nomination papers were scrutinised by seven Returning Officers in the state and found okay.

However, today on the last date for withdrawal of nominations, six withdrew from the elections.

Those, who opted out of the polls, included E Wallence Basterfield Jyrwa (Ind) from Mawsynram constituency, Robinson Dkhar of Meghalaya Democratic Party (MDP) from Nongpoh, A Mangasing L Mawlong of Hill State People Democratic Party (HSPDP) from Mairang.

Three candidates from Jaintia Hills, who withdrew their nominations, were Finelyness Bareh (Ind) from Rymbai, Wanbiang Shadap of Khun Hynniewtrep National Awakening Party from Sutgna and Oliver Neat (Ind) from the same constituency.

Election to Baghmara Assembly constituency was countermanded due to death of a Congress nominee and sitting Legislator Sengran M Sangma.

The Election Commission is yet to notify fresh date for the polls.

Six former Chief Ministers - D D Lapang, Purno A Sangma, Salseng C.Marak, E K Mawlong, Dr F A Khonglam and J D Rymbai - were seeking the people's mandate.

Chief Election Officer P K Naik told reporters that adequate security arrangements had been made with 40 companies of additional paramilitaries deployed, while 39 election observers were overseeing the smooth conduct of the polls.

There had been eleven violation of the model code of conduct of which eight cases had no basis, while another four were withdrawn and investigation was on with the rest, Mr Naik said.

Arrangements had also been made for postal voting for service holders and personnel on election duty.

Moreover special arrangements were made for the disabled voters.

Total number of polling stations in the state is 1600 with 1543 main and 57 auxiliary polling stations.

The average voter percentage per Assembly constituency and polling station is 20,548 and 771 respectively.

Tura has the highest voter concentration of 39,698 and Mawkhar with least electorate of 7799.

Poling station having the least number of voters is Boirakupi under Dalu constituency with 70 voters.

Kanshuhik polling station under Mawthengkut Assembly constituency in West Khasi Hills is the remotest polling station.

The average polling station per constituency in the state is 27.

Nongstoin has the largest number of polling stations with 46, while Mawkhar with 24 has the least number of polling stations.

The Congress was contesting all 60 seats in the state, while the United Democratic Party (UDP) came a close second with 52 candidates and Nationalist Congress Party 50 candidates.

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

Counting will be held on March seven.

UNI RRK SJC AB 1957

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