Meghalaya to count votes under CCTV surveillance

Shillong, May 14 (IANS): Counting of votes for Meghalaya's two Lok Sabha seats will be done under CCTV surveillance, an election official said Wednesday.

Over 69 percent (10,80,845) of the 15.67 lakh-strong electorate cast their votes for the two Lok Sabha seats - Tura and Shillong - in the state. 

A total of 2,581 electronic voting machines (EVMs) have been kept under security guard since balloting for the seats was held April 9. 

"All arrangements have been made for smooth counting of votes that begins Friday 8 a.m. in 13 counting centres for Shillong and Tura parliamentary seats across Meghalaya," Chief Electoral Officer Prashant Naik told IANS here.

Naik said counting of votes across the state would be done under CCTV surveillance.

Tura constituency has recorded 78.13 percent turnout of the 5,86,299 voters. In Shillong, it was 63.58 percent of the 10,79,886 voters.

The Tura constituency had 10 candidates, including lone woman candidate Ivoryna Shylla who is fighting as an Independent. 

National People's Party (NPP) candidate Purno Agitok Sangma, who is confident of entering the Lok Sabha for the 10th time from the Tura constituency, is in a straight fight against Congress' Daryl William Cheran Momin, a first-timer.

In the Shillong constituency, there were eight candidates, including former union minister Vincent H. Pala, who is facing a multi-cornered contest.

Other prominent candidates are Paul Lyngdoh (United Democratic Party), Shibun Lyngdoh (Bharatiya Janata Party) and P.B.M. Basaiawmoit (Independent).

Basaiawmoit is supported by two regional parties - the Hill State People's Democratic Party and Khun Hynniewtrep National Awakening Movement - as also by some Independent legislators. 

The UDP candidate is supported by the NPP of Purno Agitok Sangma, former Lok Sabha speaker.

Chief Minister Mukul Sangma, who is heading the Congress-led Meghalaya United Alliance government, has exuded confidence about retaining the Shillong parliamentary seat and also snatch away the Tura constituency, considered to be the stronghold of NPP chief Purno A. Sangma.

"There is a visible response from the people in the region towards the Congress candidates. The people have reposed faith in us due to our developmental initiatives and we are confident they will ensure the victory of our nominee," he added. 

Purno A. Sangma had held one-on-one discussions with BJP's prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi at Gandhinagar in Gujarat, and reaffirmed his support to the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA).


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