SHILLONG, Feb 24 – Rural Meghalaya came out in large number to cast its vote, but “urban apathy” prevented voters in urban centres to exhibit the same enthusiasm as their rural counterpart in yesterday’s Assembly polls.The highest percentage of voter turnout was recorded in Nartiang constituency in Jaintia Hills with 94.88 per cent. Similarly, North Shillong, an urban segment, witnessed the least with a total voter turnout of 71.45 per cent.
“It is urban apathy towards voting that saw fewer voters turning up at the polling stations. It would be for various reasons and one could be people don’t want to stand in long queues,” Chief Electoral Officer Prashant Naik said at a media briefing here today.
Some of the rural segments in the State saw a voter turnout of over 90 per cent. However, the urban segments witnessed an average turnout of just above 80 per cent.
Amongst the different districts, Jaintia Hills recorded a high voter turnout of over 90 per cent. Similarly, East Khasi Hills district having the largest number of urban segments recorded the lowest polling touching just about 80 per cent mark.
Moreover, women outnumbered their male counterpart in casting their votes. The percentage of female voters was 88. 46 per cent, whereas 85. 27 per cent male voters cast their ballot. There was a total of 6,71,621 female voters and 6,33,818 male voters who exercised their franchise.
During this election, there were 15,02,509 voters out of which 13,23,110 exercised their franchise. Out of this, 17,225 were postal ballots.
Meghalaya traditionally has a high voter turnout compared with the rest of the country and registered 88.06 per cent polling yesterday. The percentage was a notch lower than the 2008 Assembly election’s turnout of 89.05 per cent.
Naik, also said that though the overall polling was peaceful in all the 60 constituencies, the BJP has demanded re-polling at four polling stations in Wahiajer (Nartiang constituency) in Jaintia Hills district complaining it was not conducted fairly due to highhandedness of Congress workers. “The Returning Officer is assessing the complaint and if it merits re-polling, then it would be held,” Naik assured.
Counting of votes would begin from 8 am on February 28 in 13 centres across the State. “It is expected to be completed by 12 pm in all the 13 counting centres,” Naik added.