The Election Commission of India has deployed 119 companies of Central Armed Police Forces (CAPF) in Meghalaya to smoothly conduct the assembly polls in the state which will be held on February 27.
“In terms of law and order, we have 119 companies here,” FR Kharkongor, Chief Electoral Officer, Meghalaya told ANI.
“We had 40 companies who had been deployed earlier and another 79 companies have been inducted after the Tripura polls. In terms of law and order, it is very smooth. Of course unfortunately one candidate of the Sohiong constituency passed away in the hospital. We have already sent the information and recommendation for adjustment of the poll to the election commission. So in all likelihood, the election will be held in 59 out of 60 constituencies,” the CEO of Meghalaya added.
Kharkongor further said that there are 60 assembly constituencies in Meghalaya and have two regions – 36 constituencies in Khasi, Jaintia Hills region and 24 constituencies in Garo Hills region.
“In terms of the polling stations, we have 3,482 polling stations. All preparations are on track and all the 12 districts’ election teams have prepared all the actions and all preparations are in full swing. We have some very minor issues in Garo hills where there was a group clash between two parties at Phulbari in the West Garo hills district, but that was sorted out. We have already arrested 31 people. A few incidents happened in Shillong and the situation is also under control. By and large, election preparedness is going on smoothly,” he said.
He informed that the polling has already started because of Form 12D introduced by the Election Commission of India.
“…we have home voting for differently-abled people, for senior citizens age above 80. So this process will on till February 25. Our teams have gone and trek to very remote areas of the state,” Kharkongor said.
The Chief Electoral Officer, Meghalaya said that in respect of the counting arrangements also, all arrangements are in place.
“We have 13 counting centres here in our state, 12 counting centres in the district headquarters and one in Sohra civil sub-division,” he said.
The official detailed the arrangements for the polling and the steps taken to boost voter participation in the upcoming Assembly polls.
“We have some unique polling stations, two are riverine polling stations. There are some interesting polling stations in Meghalaya. We have launched Mission 300 where five polling stations in each constituency have been identified, where the voter turnout is less than the state average. Last time in 2018, the state average was 86.90 per cent,” he said.
The CEO hoped that the voting percentage will be as high as 90 per cent or above.
“We are also using music in campaigns, awareness programmes to aware the voters, because the people of Meghalaya love music and music is a part of the DNA of people here,” he said.
He said that there are about 81,000 first-time voters in the state.
“We plan to give them some medals to come to vote, we will recognise them with the voter medal,” he said.
“As a measure to encourage early voting, we have five early voters medals and will give to early five voters in every polling station. We have 240 special polling stations – 120 will be all managed women polling stations, 60 will be model polling stations and 60 will be the PWD polling stations,” the CEO added.
The total number of voters in the state is 21,75,236 and out of them 10.99 lakh voters are female voters and 10.68 lakh voters are male voters.
“In Meghalaya, the female voters are much more than male voters. The female participation is quite high and we hope that the voter turnout will also be high and the election will hold peacefully, smoothly,” F. R. Kharkongor said.
The Meghalaya Assembly polls will be held on February 27 and the counting will be done on March 2 along with Tripura and Nagaland.