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Over 75 per cent polling in Tura by-polls

By Biplab Kr Dey

TURA, May 16 - Voting for the by-elections to Tura Lok Sabha seat passed of without incident with a voter turnout of 70 per cent which is expected to exceed 75 pc after complete polling information comes through from remote areas.

Voting started slowly this morning but picked up throughout the day with even areas affected by militancy showing robust voting trends.

However, in Agalangre village in West Garo Hills (WGH), the presiding officer of the polling station was reported to have closed down the booth before the 4 pm closing time leading to complaints. The matter is under investigation after the Returning Officer was informed of the act.

A total of 10 Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) were reported to have malfunctioned, all of which were replaced immediately to ensure smooth voting. Seven of the faulty EVMs were in WGH, two in North Garo Hills and one in South West Garo Hills.

A total of more than 6.22 lakh voters were eligible to cast their vote in the bypolls and given the trend, the total voters that exercised their franchise is likely to cross 4.6 lakh. South West Garo Hills recorded the highest polling of over 83 pc while the figure for WGH is likely to be around 75 pc.

The plain belt areas of West Garo Hills saw very high voter turnout with Phulbari and Rajabala constituencies easily going over the 80 pc votes polled.

National People�s Party (NPP) candidate Conrad K Sangma accompanied by his wife Mehtab Chandee and five-year-old daughter Amara arrived at Gandopara polling station under Selsella constituency of West Garo Hills to cast his vote.

Congress candidate Dikkanchi D Shira was accompanied by her husband and Meghalaya CM Mukul Sangma and daughter Miami cast their vote in Chengkompara polling station under Ampati constituency of South West Garo Hills.

North Garo Hills polled 75.6 pc votes while East and South Garo Hills both recorded over 60 pc till the filing of the report. The figure for both districts (SGH and EGH) is likely to easily sail over the 70 pc mark as more polling personnel return with information.

Most of the areas which are yet to provide details are in difficult and remote terrain. Voting in all districts of the region were reported to be incident free.

PTI adds:The Tura LS seat fell vacant after nine-time MP and former Lok Sabha Speaker Purno Agitok Sangma passed away earlier this year. The contest for the Tura seat is between P A Sangma�s youngest son Conrad K Sangma and Congress candidate and Chief Minister Mukul Sangma�s wife Dikkanchi D Shira.

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