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Meghalaya records 53 percent polling


Shillong, April 9:

Meghalaya Wednesday recorded 53 percent polling till 3 p.m., as voting took place at a brisk pace with people turning out in huge numbers to elect two Lok Sabha members from the state.

“Around 53 percent of the 15,67,241 electors voted till 3 p.m. in Shillong and Tura,” State Chief Electoral Officer Prashant Naik said.

The voting percentage is expected to be around 65 percent at the end of voting 5 p.m.

“I am hopeful we are going to cross the 64 percent voter turnout recorded in the 2009 election,” Naik said.

Voting remained peaceful, barring two incidents of suspected insurgents firing blanks near the Tolegre polling booth in South Garo Hills district and wild elephants disrupting movement of election officials to two polling booths – Nokchi and Halchatti – under Tura parliamentary constituency.

The ruling Congress in the state is pitted against fractured regional parties for the two Lok Sabha seats in this mountainous state.

Of the total electors, 22.62 percent are in the 18-25 age group, while 50.43 percent are women. Tura has 5,86,501 voters while Shillong has 9,80,740 electors.

In Shillong, there are eight candidates, including lone woman candidate Ivoryna Shylla, who is fighting as an Independent.

Prominent candidates in the state capital include sitting Congress member Vincent H. Pala, Paul Lyngdoh (United Democratic Party), Shibun Lyngdoh (Bharatiya Janata Party) and P.B.M. Basaiawmoit (Independent).

In Tura, former Lok Sabha speaker and National People’s Party candidate Purno A. Sangma is pitted against Daryl William Cheran Momin of the Congress.

“I am confident to sail through this time as the electors have assured me of their votes,” Purno Sangma said after voting.

He said the BJP-led alliance will form the next government at the Centre with Narendra Modi as prime minister.

“The NDA will form the next government as people are totally fed up with the failure of the Congress government which is stained with scams,” Sangma said.

However, Chief Minister Mukul Sangma, who is leading the Congress-led Meghalaya United Alliance government, said he was optimistic that the Congress will retain power.

“I am optimistic we will still do well as the election progresses across the country… there is no Modi wave as such… it’s only a hype,” he said.

He said he doesn’t see Modi becoming prime minister.

“Any person having a fundamentalist background cannot aspire to become prime minister. The whole issue (Modi’s prime ministerial candidature) is being driven by this group which had a hand in unpleasant things in the history of India,” he said.