70 percent polling in Meghalaya council elections

Shillong, Feb 24: Over 70 percent polling was recorded Monday in elections to the Khasi Hills Autonomous District Council (KHADC) and Jaintia Hills Autonomous District Council (JHADC) in Meghalaya, officials said.

Voting was peaceful barring an incident where a mob damaged an electronic voting machine (EVM) at Umladang polling booth in Nartiang constituency in West Jaintia Hills, District Council Affairs commissioner and secretary-in-charge Jopthiaw Lyngdoh told the media.

The incident occurred after the Nationalist Congress Party candidate lodged a complaint with the presiding officer alleging that his polling agent was intimidated.

Following the attack on the polling booth, a mob set ablaze the house of the polling agent, Lyngdoh said.

No one has been arrested, but police have rushed to the area to take stock of the situation, said Deputy Inspector General of Police (in-charge eastern range) A. Sunn.

Meanwhile, two presiding officers were placed under suspension for dereliction of duty during polling hours, while one person was arrested for threatening a presiding officer after casting his vote.

The government had deployed heavy security all the 1,148 polling booths.

A total of 212 candidates from five political parties – Congress, NCP, United Democratic Party, Hill State People’s Democratic Party and the Khun Hynniewtrep National Awakening Movement and 63 Independents – are in the fray in the polls to both the councils.

Under the Sixth Schedule of the Constitution, Meghalaya has three district councils – for the Khasi, Jaintia and Garo Hills.

IANS