Voting begins peacefully in Meghalaya

SHILLONG:

Voting for the assembly elections in Meghalaya began on Tuesday amidst tight security, an official said.

"Men and women in large numbers queued up in front of many polling stations well before polling opened at 7 a.m. in the entire state. Polling ends at 4 p.m.," Chief Electoral Officer, Frederick Roy Kharkongor said.

Polling in Williamnagar seat was countermanded following the killing of Nationalist Congress Party candidate Jonathone Sangma in an IED blast at Sawilgre area in East Garo Hills district on February 18.

A total of 18,09,818 electorates, including 9,13,702 women and 89,405 first-time voters are eligible to exercise their franchise to decide the fate of 361 candidates, including 31 women and many independents.

As many as 340 polling stations have been categorised as "critical" and 580 as "vulnerable".

Balloting in 183 polling stations will be webcast, to be made available at the offices of Chief Electoral Officer or District Electoral Officer and the Election Commission of India, Kharkongor said.

As many as 66 all-women polling stations and 61 model polling stations have been set up.

Mawlai constituency in East Khasi Hills district has the highest voters at 42,670, and Dalu in West Garo Hills the lowest 18,640 voters.

In all, 106 companies of central armed police forces have been deployed to ensure peaceful polls, he said.

In 2013 Meghalaya Assembly elections, the voters turnout was recorded at 87.97 per cent.