SHILLONG, Aug 22 - The Election Office has engaged runners for tomorrow�s bypoll in the Ranikor Assembly seat for carrying messages to and from from booths located in far-flung areas in view of bad road connectivity and unreliable mobile networks, officials said today.
The Ranikor Assembly constituency in South West Khasi Hills, close to the Indo-Bangladesh border, will go to by-election tomorrow.
At least 10 runners from villages within Ranikor constituency, known to produce many long-distance runners including former marathon national champion Binning Lyngkhoi, have been roped in to carry messages to and from the office of the District Election Office and far-flung polling stations, Chief Electoral Officer FR Kharkongor said.
He said the runners have been engaged to make four trips, first around 9 am from the remote polling stations and to report to the election officer on whether the polling has begun or not or whether there is any emergency situation.
The second around 11 am, the runners will report to the officer concerned on the polling trends and turnouts while the third and the last will be at around 1 pm and 4 pm respectively, Kharkongor said.
South West Khasi Hills Deputy Commissioner Isawanda Laloo, who is also the District Election Officer, reasoned that the deployment of runners has been made as a contingency plan.
She said the road connectivity to some of the polling stations has been disrupted due to heavy rainfall and that mobile connectivity is equally bad.
She also said that some of these polling stations are located at over 20 km away from the district headquarters and one will take at least three hours to reach on foot.
Mawkyrwat and its adjoining areas are known to produce some of the most talented runners.
Brenning Lyngkhoi, a native of Mawkyrwat himself and now running for the Army, expressed happiness that the State Government has given his young friends an opportunity to run. � PTI