Voting begins in Meghalaya for 2 Lok Sabha seats

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Shillong, Apr 9:Voting for two parliamentary constituencies in Meghalaya began Wednesday amidst tight security, marking the start of second phase elections in India which began April 7, an official said.

Men and women in large numbers queued up in front of polling stations well before voting opened at 7 a.m. in the entire state. Polling ends at 5 p.m., said chief electoral officer Prashant Naik.

Meghalaya has two parliamentary constituencies – Shillong and Tura. Eight of the 10 candidates for these are crorepatis.

The ruling Congress in the state is pitted against fractured regional parties for the two Lok Sabha seats in this mountainous northeastern state, where elecrtions are to be held April 9.

Of a total 15, 67,241 electors in Meghalaya, 22.62 percent are in the 18-25 age group, while 50.43 percent are women. Among the electors, 5,86,501 voters are in Tura, divided into 24 assembly segments, while 9,80,740 voters will cast their votes for the Shillong seat that has 36 assembly segments.

In Shillong parliamentary constituency, there are eight candidates, including lone woman candidate Ivoryna Shylla, who is fighting the election as an Independent.

Prominent candidates in the electoral ring from Meghalaya’s capital include sitting Congress Lok Sabha member Vincent H. Pala, Paul Lyngdoh (United Democratic Party), Shibun Lyngdoh (Bharatiya Janata Party) and P.B.M. Basaiawmoit (Independent).

However, all eyes are on the Tura parliamentary constituency where former Lok Sabha Speaker and NPP candidate Purno Agitok Sangma is ranged against the Congress’ Daryl William Cheran Momin.

Agatha K.Sangma, the youngest parliamentarian in the current Lok Sabha representing Tura constituency, quit the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) and decided not to contest the April 9 election to make room for her father, Purno Sangma, who had earlier represented the constituency for straight nine times and has served as a speaker of the Lok Sabha.

The outlawed Hynniewtrep National Liberation Council (HNLC) has called for a 12-hour shutdown from 5 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday as part of the outfit’s boycott of the parliamentary elections in the eastern part of Meghalaya.