Fashion and festivity rule Meghalaya polling

Electors queue up to cast their votes at Byrnihat in Meghalaya on Tuesday

Electors queue up to cast their votes at Byrnihat in Meghalaya on Tuesday

Shillong: Election authorities in poll-bound Meghalaya seized over Rs 38 lakh in cash from East Khasi Hills district on Monday, just a day of the polling for the state Assembly.

The BJP, fighting the polls alone by fielding 47 candidates, is equally confident of winning a good number of seats and forming a non-Congress government.

In Nagaland too elections were held for 59 seats out of 60 seats after National Democratic Political Party (NDPP) candidate and former chief minister Neiphiu Rio was elected unopposed from Northern Angami-II seat.

Balloting in 183 polling stations is being webcast, to be made available at the offices of Chief Electoral Officer or District Electoral Officer and the Election Commission, State Chief Electoral Officer Frederick Roy Kharkongor said.

Tuesday's election was marred by a clash between supporters of the ruling Naga People's Front and the Bharatiya Janata Party in Zunheboto district, in which one person was shot dead and two persons injured.

Polling in Williamnagar constituency was countermanded following the death of Nationalist Congress Party candidate Jonathone Sangma in an IED blast in Sawilgre area of East Garo Hills district on February 18.

Earlier in the day, Chief Minister Dr Mukul Sangma who has casted his vote at Chengkompara polling station in expressed confidence that the Congress party would cross the magic number of 31 in the 60 member Meghalaya Assembly.

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Meghalaya chief minister Mukul Sangma, his wife Dikkanchi D. Shira (top) and (above) NPP chief Conrad K. Sangma show their inked fingers after voting on Tuesday. "Therefore, we are hopeful of emerging as the single largest party".

"I hope people will reject the Congress, which even its own people have rejected by not contesting", UDP leader Bindo Mathew Lanong said. "This means around 74.62 per cent polling was recorded", he said.

Interestingly, an unlikely pre-poll alliance has been formed between the UDP, HSPDP and GNC with an aim to deny both the Congress and the BJP-NPP alliance from forming the next government in the state.

Of the 2,156 polling stations, 1,062 were designated "critical", and 530 "vulnerable".

Rs 4.62 lakh was also seized from five persons carrying hard cash at Ronipara village in Tikrikilla constituency, West Garo Hills, earlier this month.

For the first time, 67 all-women polling stations and 61 model polling stations were set up in the state, the CEO said.

In all, 106 companies of Central armed police forces were deployed to ensure peaceful polls, he said.

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