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Meghalaya goes to polls on February 27 with no clear favourites in picture

A total of 369 candidates which includes 333 men and 36 women candidates are in the fray for the 59 seats.

SHILLONG:

The Meghalaya Legislative Assembly Elections will be held on February 27 in 59 out of the 60 Assembly constituencies after polling to Sohiong seat was adjourned following the demise of United Democratic Party (UDP) candidate HDR Lyngdoh.

This time, a total of 369 candidates, which includes 333 men and 36 women are in the fray for the 59 seats.

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), Congress, National People’s Party (NPP), Trinamool Congress (TMC), and the United Democratic Party (UDP) are the major parties contesting the polls. There is also other parties like the People’s Democratic Front (PDF), the Voice of the People Party (VPP), and the Hill State People’s Democratic Party (HSPDP).

The state assembly elections will also witness 44 independent candidates.

The BJP and Congress have fielded 60 candidates, the TMC 56, NPP 57, the UDP 46, VPP 18 and the PDF in nine seats.

Also a total of 3,419 polling teams have been deployed across the state for elections to the 59 Assembly seats.

A total of 119 companies of the Central Armed Police Force have been deployed for the state.

Authorities also informed that there are 600 plus vulnerable polling stations, around 300 polling stations are critical and 84 polling stations as both critical and vulnerable.

Also there are 74 non-motorable polling stations across the state and two riverine polling stations – Kamseng with only 35 voters under Amlarem constituency, West Jaintia Hills, and Kalatek along the India-Bangladesh border under Shella constituency, East Khasi Hills district.

Polling will start from 7 am and end at 4 pm.

A total of around 21.40 lakh electorates will decide the fate of the 369 candidates contesting from the 59 assembly constituencies.

Meanwhile, Meghalaya Chief Electoral Officer, Frederick Roy Kharkongor informed that an amount of Rs. 8.63 crore was seized from persons after the Model Code of Conduct came into fore, apart from that liquor worth Rs. 2.54 crore, Narcotics worth Rs. 33.24 crore, precious metals worth Rs. 91 lakh and freebies worth Rs. 27.37 crore were seized by the  authorities.

Constituencies like West Shillong in East Khasi Hills and Phulbari in West Garo Hills witnessed pre-poll violence.

There are 21,75,236 eligible voters of which 10.99 lakh are women and 10.68 lakh are men and around 82,000 first time voters in the 60 constituencies.

In the 2018 elections, the Congress won 21 seats, the NPP won 20 seats, the UDP won six seats, the PDF won four seats, the HSPDP and the BJP won two seats each.

Notably, the Congress is going to the poll without a single sitting MLA contesting from the party after defections.

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