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Meghalaya poll concludes peacefully; Nagaland gears up

Guwahati, Tue, 04 Mar 2008 NI Wire

With over 75 percent voters turn out in the eighth Meghalaya Assembly elections on Monday, the state peacefully sealed the fate of over 300 candidates in the electronic voting machine (EVM). Polling was recorded for 59 constituencies of the total 60 seats.

It was just another day for the rest of the country, but was something special for Meghalaya, which on Monday went on to decide the fate of 331 candidates, comprising 19 women candidates and six former chief ministers.

The day commenced with the shocking news of a murder of a Congress worker, but people of the state soon discarded the incident from their minds and buried underneath somewhere for the time being so that they could take part in the democratic process. The voters glided into the voting mode with ease to offer the state peaceful ballot.

At the closing off the voting, 75 percent voters had cast their ballots, which was 5 percent more than that of 2003 assembly elections.

A sunny morning but a pleasant afternoon provided atmosphere enjoyable for the voters throughout the day, which ensured a steady and continuous flow of voters till an evening, when the rain disrupted the movement for the time being. But, voters came out in large numbers when the rain stopped playing.

Even before, when the rain turned down to stop, people came out of their home, queued outside the booth under an open sky keeping umbrellas, which flooded the booth, over their head. Even voters were seen still waiting for their turn queuing outside the booth after the closing of the voting-time. The time later extended at some polling booths.

Overall the polling scene across the state remained peaceful as no major violence was reported on Monday except one incident of murder of one person, who died when workers of the Congress and the NCP clashed at Selsella in Garo Hills in the very early morning of Monday.

There were also reports of clashes between supporters of United Democratic Party and the Congress in Ri-Bhoi district on Sunday. The Congress alleged NCP supporters behind the incident culminating into ‘beaten to death’ of Dinag R Marak of Selsella constituency. The chief electoral officer said the three NCP supporters were arrested later.

Polling in Baghmara constituency has been re-scheduled on March 22 owing to the death of Congress sitting MLA S Sangma, who died of cancer.

Seven regional parties comprising the NCP and the Congress-the big one are fighting the battle in Meghalaya.

For the Congress, which is also the state's ruling party, it is a victory it badly needs. The win would also put a stop to a series of electoral defeats faced by the Congress in other states such as Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh. Beside, the win would boost up the morale of the party leaders as well as workers across the country.

Significance of poll

The Meghalaya poll was also significant for the women’s power point of view as there were 20,000 more women electorates took part in the voting than men in the matrilineal state.

Besides, the election was significant as six former chief ministers- D D Lapang (incumbent CM), P A Sangma, Salseng C Marak, E K Mawlong, F A Khonglam and J D Rymbai- were contesting in the eighth Meghalaya assembly polls.

Counting of votes will take place on March 07. The term of the current House ends on March 10.

Nagaland polls on March 05

The state of Nagaland will go to the polls on March 05 tomorrow on Wednesday to elect 60 legislators.

The counting of votes will take place on March 08, 2008.

The last Nagaland assembly elections were held in 2003, where the Congress legislative party had claimed a comfortable victory.

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