Shillong, Oct 30: The byelections to the three Assembly constituencies ended peacefully on Saturday with high voter turnout of about 84%.
Rajabala recorded the highest voter turnout at 90.63% followed by Mawphlang at 82.34% and Mawryngkneng at 78.06%. The overall percentage was 83.67.
The byelections were necessitated after the deaths of two Congress legislators, David A Nongrum from Mawryngkneng and Dr Azad Zaman from Rajabala, and Independent MLA from Mawphlang SK Sunn.
In 2018, the polling percentage in Mawryngkneng was 85.5%, Mawphlang 88.68% and Rajabala 93.39%.
Over 1 lakh voters came out to exercise their franchise in 168 polling stations for electing their new representatives. 16 polling stations were under webcasting.
The fate of 13 candidates contesting for three seats in the two districts will be decided on November 2, when the counting takes place.
No untoward incident was reported from Rajabala, which had over 29 ‘vulnerable’ polling stations and which had witnessed clashes between supporters of two political parties.
Kharkongor said six VVPATs — two in Mawphlang, one in Mawryngkneng and three in Rajabala — had to be changed.
At Ladmawreng, polling went on beyond 4 pm owing to the delay caused by technical glitch.
On a complaint lodged by the opposition Congress, the CEO said that prompt action was taken by the returning officer who immediately issued an order prohibiting the use of mobile phones inside the voting hall.
“In fact, when we were doing webcasting and saw that one of the presiding officers had inadvertently brought a mobile phone, instructions were given by members of my team to the presiding officer that is not allowed and that was complied with,” he added.
He also said there was no complaint received against distribution of money during the elections. However, local brew and IMFL worth Rs 1.72 lakh and 5 gm of heroin were seized in Tura.
Security for counting
The vote counting will start at 8 am on November 2. Due to the Covid-19 protocols, there will be seven tables per round.
There will be three counting halls, two at JN Stadium here and one in Tura.
“Five VVPAT machines will be selected randomly for counting of the paper slips that will be done under the supervision of the observers who will be assisted by the micro-observers and we will also have the entire process under webcasting,” the CEO said.
On the security arrangements, a police officer said the EVMs will be taken to the strong rooms in Tura and Shillong.
“The strong room in Tura is guarded by a two-layered security (one platoon of CRPF, two platoons of state police forces) cover and at JN Stadium by a three-layered security (one company of central paramilitary forces, two platoons of state armed forces and one platoon third layered of state armed forces),” he said.
According to him, the state police are ready with the arrangement regarding the traffic and frisking and checking the candidates and their representatives during the counting.
“We are making arrangements for escorting the winning candidates from the counting centre to their residences,” he said.