Voting for 29 seats in the Garo Hills Autonomous District Council (GHADC) were peacefully conducted on Monday in which nearly 70 per cent voter turnout was recorded. According to District Council Affairs (DCA) officials, the percentage may go up since the figures provided are only up to 5 pm as information from polling stations in remote areas are yet to be received.
No untoward incidents were reported from any of the five districts as people defied the call for a poll boycott by a group of social organisations.
About 69.42 per cent of the 7.43 lakh voters cast their votes deciding the fate of as many as 182 candidates belonging to five different political parties and Independents, said the DCA officials. A total of 182 candidates are vying for the 29 seats in the GHADC polls of which there are only eight women candidates and 75 candidates are contesting as Independents.
South West Garo Hills district has recorded the highest voter turnout at 76.34 per cent, followed by South Garo Hills district at 73.08 per cent.
In the other three districts, the voter turnout in West Garo Hills district was recorded at 60.95 per cent, North Garo Hills district at 69.34 per cent and East Garo Hills district at 67.37 per cent.
Elaborate security arrangements were made to ensure free and fair elections across the five districts of Garo Hills.
The ruling National People’s Party (NPP) and the Opposition Congress have fielded candidates in all the 29 seats followed by the BJP in 21 seats and UDP on eight seats.
With the fate of the candidates securely locked in the EVMs, the GHADC is now waiting to find out the count of votes secured by the aspiring candidates when the results to be declared on April 15.
Barring one incident in the Tura Government College where voters were turned back despite reporting before the cut off time of 4 pm, there were no reports of anyone being denied their franchise. In the case of the Tura Government College, the officer in question refused to allow voters to cast their votes despite them being well within time. The DC of WGH, Ram Singh, despite requests, could not help change the situation leading to many having to return without casting their vote.
Meghalaya Chief Minister Conrad Sangma along with his wife were seen in the polling line at about 11:30 am at Walbakgre, while the former Chief Minister and Opposition leader Mukul Sangma also came with his wife and Mahendraganj MLA Dikkanchi D Shira at Chengkompara near Ampati.
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