SHILLONG, Aug 23 - By-elections to the South Tura and Ranikor constituencies were conducted smoothly today. The fate of Chief Minister Conrad Sangma, who is contesting from South Tura, has been sealed with today�s polling.
South Tura recorded a voting percentage of 72.89, while Ranikor registered 83.2 per cent polling till the reports last came in. In South Tura, there are 30,440 voters and 36 polling stations. Out of this electorate, 15,474 are female and 1,006 first-time voters. In Ranikor, out of the total 29,670 voters, 4,533 are female and 1,639 new voters. There are 65 polling stations in Ranikor.
Chief Electoral Officer Fredrick Roy Kharkongor said that the polling figures are likely to increase marginally as reports from several places are yet to come through, especially in the inaccessible and remote Ranikor constituency.
�In both the constituencies, polling was held smoothly, except for a few technical glitches with voting machines and the control units, which were sorted out,� he said.
The CEO was all praise for the �innovative idea� of the district administration of South West Khasi Hills to connect the remote polling stations in Ranikor constituency by using the services of runners. Ten polling stations are non-motorable with poor communication facilities in Ranikor.
�Ten runners were involved who acted as living bridges for transmission of information in some of these remote polling stations of the area. Some of the runners carried information running almost for three hours through difficult terrains,� Kharkongor said.
The runners will get remuneration from the district administration depending on the distance and terrain they covered. On the other hand, a notice has been sent to the son of NPP candidate and five-time MLA Martin M Danggo from Ranikor for alleged violation of the poll code.
Danggo�s son was allegedly caught on tape visiting people�s homes last evening after the campaigning had ended. �We have received the complaint and a notice has been sent. The district administration is inquiring into the incident,� Kharkongor said.
The CEO said that for counting of the votes on August 27, two companies of Central paramilitary forces have been retained out of the eight assigned for the by-polls. These security forces will man the strongrooms and the counting will be held at the DC�s office, Mawkyrwat, for the Ranikor constituency and at ETC for South Tura.