By-polls in four NE states register high turnout, peaceful polling
72.62% electorates exercised in Assam
Guwahati, Oct. 21 (PTI/IANS): An estimated 72.62 per cent of the electorate exercised their franchise in the by-election to four assembly seats in Assam on Monday, election office sources said.
The by-polls were held at Ratabari, Rangapara, Sonari and Jania.
The final poll percentage is, however, expected to be higher as queues of voters are seen waiting at the polling booths.
As per norm those who enter the polling booths before the scheduled end of voting are allowed to exercise their franchise. The highest polling percentage of 78.21 per cent was recorded at Jania, followed by 77.50 per cent at Rangapara, 74.37 per cent at Karimganj and 66.40 per cent at Sonari, the sources said.
The four constituencies have a total electorate of 6,78,898 electors, including 3,27,803 female and one third gender voter who voted in 830 polling stations.
The bypolls to these constituencies were necessitated as sitting BJP MLAs and ministers Pallab Lochan Das(Rangapara) and Tapan Gogoi (Sonari) along with Deputy Speaker Kripanath Mallah (Ratabari) and Congress MLA Abdul Khaleque (Jania) have been elected to the Lok Sabha earlier this year.
68% votes cast in Sikkim, highest turnout in CM’s seat
An estimated 67.99 per cent of around 44,500 voters exercised their franchise on Monday in by-polls in three Sikkim Assembly seats, including one from which the chief minister who is not a member of the House, is contesting.
The highest voter turnout of 79.36 per cent was recorded at Poklok Kamrang constituency where chief minister Prem Singh Tamang aka Golay is locked in a triangular contest, the office of the Chief Electoral Officer said.
In the two other seats, Martam Rumtek and Gangtok, 72.60 per cent and 52.03 per cent votes were polled respectively.
Former Indian football team captain Bhaichung Bhutia is contesting from Gangtok on Hamro Sikkim Party (HSP) ticket.
The polling passed off peacefully, Chief Electoral Officer R Telang said.
Counting of votes will take place on October 24.
Of the three seats, Poklok Kamrang is in focus as Chief Minister Golay, also president of Sikkim Krantikari Morcha (SKM), is a contestant there.
The by-polls were necessitated as former chief minister Pawan Kumar Chamling (SDF), legislators D T Lepcha (earlier with SDF and now in BJP) and Kunga Nima Lepcha (SKM) had vacated Poklok Kamrang, Martam Rumtek and Gangtok seats respectively after winning from two seats each.
84.56 % turnout in Meghalaya
Voting in the assembly by-election in Meghalaya’s Shella constituency passed off peacefully on Monday with 84.56 per cent of the total 29,542 electorate casting their votes.
“The latest voter turnout recorded till 5 p.m. was 84.56 percent. Polling was conducted in a peaceful manner,” Chief Electoral Officer Frederick Roy Kharkongor told IANS over phone.
The by-election was necessitated following the death of former Assembly Speaker and United Democratic Party supremo Donkupar Roy in July 21.
Polling started at 7 a.m. and ended at 5 p.m. No untoward incident was reported during the polling hours.
Men and women in large numbers queued up in front of the 58 polling stations well before voting began at 7 a.m., an election official said.
“There was no poll-related incident and the election was conducted in a free and fair manner,” Kharkongor said.
The UDP, which fielded Balajied Kupar Synrem, the eldest son of the former assembly speaker and UDP chief, is confident of retaining the Shella seat.
“We are very confident to retain the seat because of people’s support,” UDP leader, Allantry Franklin Dkhar, told IANS.
The National People’s Party, which is leading the Meghalaya Democratic Alliance coalition government and the Hill State People’s Democratic Party is also supporting Synrem.
The UDP is a key partner of the ruling MDA coalition government.
However, the Bharatiya Janata Party and the People’s Democratic Front, which are key partners in the MDA coalition government, have also fielded their nominees, Joshua Warjri and Mosjo Rock F. Wanswett.
The opposition Congress has again fielded Batyngshai Laitmon Ryngnga.
Ryngnga who came third in the 2018 Meghalaya Assembly elections from Shella constituency is hopeful that he will win the by-poll.
Grace Kharpuri, who won the Khasi Hills Autonomous District Council (KHADC) election earlier this year on a Congress ticket from Nongshken constituency, quit the primary membership of the grand old party to contest the by-poll.
Kharpuri is the lone woman candidate is equally confident to win the by-poll.
Komen Laitmon, a former HSPDP leader is also fighting the by- election as an Independent candidate.
Khonsa West records 89% voters’ turnout
Khonsa West Assembly bypoll in Arunachal Pradesh recorded a voters’ turnout of 89 percent with over 10,000 voters exercising their franchise on October 21 amidst tight security, election officials here said.
Though voting was moderate in the morning hours, it gained momentum as the day progressed, joint Chief Electoral Officer D J Bhattacharjee said.
The polling was absolutely peaceful amid tight security measures without any report of untoward incidents from the constituency which witnessed a straight contest between two independent candidates – Chakat Aboh and Azet Hamtok.
Chakat Aboh, the wife of NPP leader Tirong Aboh who was shot dead in May, has been unanimously fielded by five major political parties, including the ruling BJP in the state.
The seat fell vacant following the death of Tirong Aboh, who was declared elected from Khonsa West seat as a candidate of the National People’s Party (NPP) two days after his death.