Counting begins in Meghalaya

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{image-counting of votes_07032008.jpg www.oneindia.com}Shillong, Agartala Mar 7: Counting of votes for the 60-member Meghalaya Assembly, elections for which were held on March 3, began at 0800 hrs here this morning. Election to the Baghmara seat in South Garo Hills was countermanded following the death of Congress MLA and candidate Sengran M Sangma.

Polling would be held there on March 22, while counting will be held on March 24. The Election Commission had made elaborate arrangements for counting of votes in the state. About 1,899 polling personnel and 39 election observers had been assigned in 15 counting centres spread over seven district headquarters and six civil sub-divisions across the state, Chief Electoral Officer P Naik told the sources here.

Meghalaya has set an all-time record with 89.05 per cent of over 1.2 million voters exercising their franchise to elect 59 new legislators to the Assembly.

Of the total 12,14,010 electorate, the CEO said 10,81,023 votes were polled.

The Rongchuggiri Assembly constituency in East Garo Hills recorded the highest number of vote with 95.32 per cent, while Laitumkhrah in East Khasi recorded the minimum with 76.22 per cent.

The main electoral battle is among three major political parties-- Congress, NCP and United Democratic Party (UDP).

However, in the Garo hills, the tussle is mainly between the NCP and the Congress, while in the Khasi Hills, comprising three districts of East and West Khasi Hills and Ri-Bhoi, the competition is between the UDP and the Congress.

Important leaders, whose fate will be decided, are incumbent Chief Minister D D Lapang (Nongpoh), Speaker Martin M Danggo (Langrin) and five former Chief Ministers - J D Rymbai (Jirang), Dr F A Khonglam (Sohra), E K Mawlong (Umroi) and S C Marak (Resubelpara) besides former Lok Sabha Speaker P A Sangma (Tura).

During 1989-90, Mr Sangma won the Tura Assembly seat and became the Chief Minister, but his Government was toppled within a year.

The electoral fortunes of 331 candidates, including 19 women and 73 Independents will be decided today.

Counting of votes for the 60-member Tripura Assembly, elections for which were held on February 23, began at 0800 hrs here this morning.

The Election Commission had made elaborate arrangements for the smooth counting of votes in the state.

Apart from about 700 observers and 2,500 counting personnel, the EC had made a three-tier security arrangement around each counting hall at 19 stations of Tripura, while imposing several restrictions on the political parties during the counting.

Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) G S G Ayyangar said the counting would be conducted on 707 tables and the first layer of security manned by central security forces, while two others will be guarded by TSR jawans.

The CEO held meetings with all the district-level election officials and asked the officials concerned, including District Magistrates, Returning Officers and counting personnel to make the process trouble free and uphold the record of model election.

Tripura had set an all-time record with 91.38 per cent of over two million voters exercising their franchise to elect 60 new Legislators to the Assembly.

The ruling CPI(M)-led Left Front was locked in a direct fight with the Opposition Congress-Indigenous Party of Tripura (INPT) alliance.

Prominent among those, whose fate will be decided, are incumbent Chief Minister Manik Sarkar, two former Chief Ministers Samir Ranjan Barman and Sudhir Ranjan Majumdar (both Congress).

Two other important figures of the Congress-INPT alliance are Maharani Bibhukumari Devi and militant-turned-Legislator Bijoy Kumar Harangkhwal.

The electoral fortunes of 313 candidates, including 31 women and 64 Independents, will be decided today.

The CPI(M) alone put up candidates in 56 seats, while its alliance partners CPI and RSP contested two seats each.

The Congress was in the fray in 47 seats, while its two allies - INPT and PDS - fought it out in eleven and two seats respectively.

UNI

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