Meghalaya district council elections witness nearly 70% turnout; no untoward incidents reported, says official

Shillong: Nearly 70 percent voter turnout was recorded in elections to the 29-member Garo Hills Autonomous District Council (GHADC) in Meghalaya on Monday, an official said.

Amid tight security, polling began at 7 am and continued beyond the scheduled deadline of 5 pm in some areas to enable those in the queues to exercise their franchise, he said.

No untoward incident was reported in any of the five western Garo hills districts as people came out in large numbers to cast their votes, defying a poll boycott call by a group of social organisations, the official said.

"According to the latest reports, 69.42 percent of the 7.43 lakh electors exercised their franchise in the GHADC elections. Voting was held with strict adherence to COVID-19 protocols," he said.

The final polling percentage could increase as detailed reports were awaited, he said.

South West Garo Hills district recorded the highest voter turnout at 76.34 per cent, followed by South Garo Hills district at 73.08 percent.

The poll percentage in West Garo Hills district was at 60.95, North Garo Hills at 69.34 and East Garo Hills at 67.37, the official said.

A total of 182 candidates, including 75 independents, are in the fray. The ruling National People's Party (NPP) and the Opposition Congress have fielded their nominees in all the 29 seats, while the BJP is contesting in 21 and the UDP in eight.

The Meghalaya government had, in October last year, postponed the elections to the GHADC in the wake of the COVID-19 crisis.

The council is currently under the administrator's rule after the tenure of the National People's Party-led executive committee expired on 18 October.

Election to the council was initially scheduled on 9 April, and later deferred by three days as there were logistics issues, including deployment of security forces, in view of the third phase assembly polls on 6 April in neighbouring Assam.

Votes will be counted will be counted on 15 April.



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