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Meghalaya registers healthy voters’ turnout of 84.86 pc
Staff Correspondent
 SHILLONG, Feb 28 - Meghalaya has registered a “robust and healthy” voters’ turnout of 84.86 per cent, with women voters outnumbering their male counterparts by almost three per cent.

Altogether, 15.35 lakh voters exercised their franchise, out of which there were 7.47 lakh male and 7.89 female voters. Therefore, 83.40 per cent male voters exercised their franchise, while 86.30 female voters cast their ballots, out of the 18.98 lakh eligible voters.

Chief Election Officer, FR Kharkongor giving out the “final voters’ percentage” said here today, the voting has been on predictable lines with Meghalaya historically having a high voters’ turnout.

“The voters’ turnout was robust and healthy and was held peacefully throughout the State. We collated the final figures today as some of the polling personnel reached the headquarters only this morning,” Kharkongor said.

In 2013, the voters’ turnout was 86.30 per cent. Kharkongor said the voters’ turnout is likely to breach the 2013 mark when Williamnagar polls (countermanded) are held, which traditionally has a high voters’ turnout. Moreover, repolling would be held in Kydong-Tuber, Jaintia Hills, as there was “mix-up” of EVMs in the polling station.

“Williamanagar has traditionally had a high voters’ turnout and this year there is a likelihood of a sympathy factor working in the constituency, which may witness a further surge in the turnout,” Kharkongor said.

He was referring to the killing of NCP candidate, Jonathone Sangma in an IED blast during campaigning as a result of which the election was countermanded. Sangma’s widow would contest from the seat and the possibility is that many people would turn up to vote out of sympathy.

Meanwhile, the highest polling was registered in Mowkiaw constituency, Jaintia Hills, with a voting percentage of 93.21. The lowest polling was registered in North Shillong constituency with 60.79 per cent voters’ turnout.

Among the districts, South West Garo Hills registered the highest voters’ turnout with 91.15 per cent and the lowest voters’ turnout was in South West Khasi Hills, with 86.97 per cent among the eleven districts of the State.

The “urban apathy” has again resulted in low voters’ turnout in most of the constituencies identified as urban locales in the State Capital.

Apart from North Shillong registering the lowest voters’ turnout, South Shillong with 64.16, East Shillong with 69.13 and West Shillong with 73.02 per cent were some of the other constituencies registering low voters’ turnout.

On the other hand, counting would start from 8 am on March 3 in 13 counting centres spread across the State and two civil sub-divisions – Sohra and Mairang. Eleven companies of Central Armed Police Forces are guarding the strongrooms where the EVMs are being kept.

The Election department held a meeting today with the security agencies and based on threat assessment, in East Jaintia Hills district and Shillong city, extra security personnel would be deployed on the day of counting of votes.

“There may be passion running high in some of the constituencies in the State Capital on the day of counting of votes, in places like West Shillong constituency and other areas of the city. Similarly, we feel the situation requires extra security in East Jaintia Hills,” the CEO added.

The Election department is also putting up LED screen at Polo and State Central Library on the day of counting for people to get live update of the election results, the CEO informed.

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