Polling begins in Meghalaya, Congress faces Sangma test
Edited by Amit Chaturvedi (With PTI inputs) | Updated: February 23, 2013 12:09 IST
Shillong: Polling for the Assembly elections in Meghalaya has begun. The ruling Congress is expected to see a tough challenge from P A Sangma's newly formed National People's Party or NPP.
A total of 345 contestants, including Chief Minister Mukul Sangma and Congress president D D Lapang, are in the fray for Meghalaya's 60-seat Assembly. A total of 15 lakh people in the state are eligible to cast their votes.
Speaking to NDTV on the eve of the polls, the Chief Minister ruled out that his government faces any challenge from Mr Sangma. "He has been there for a long time as far as politics is concerned. So he obviously has a lot of following. But the people know what is right and the mood here is definitely pro-Congress and this is because of our developmental works. We are expecting to cross the halfway mark in Meghalaya for the first time after the first ever government was formed in Meghalaya," said Mr Mukul Sangma.
Banned Khasi organisation, Hynniewtrep National Liberation Council, has called a 36-hour bandh starting 6.00 pm on Thursday in seven districts in Khasi and Jaintia Hills region.
The Congress has put up candidates in all 60 seats, and ally United Democratic Party in 50.
Of the 15 parties in the fray, the P A Sangma-led National Peoples Party is contesting in 32 seats, the NCP in 21 and the BJP in 13. Among the candidates are 25 women.
Of the 2,845 polling stations, 900 have been declared 'hyper-sensitive'.
Booths along the international border and the interstate border with Assam have also been categorised as 'hyper-sensitive'.
The Border Security Force (BSF), which has been put on maximum alert along the 498-km border, has deployed 10,000 personnel.
Ninety-one companies of Central paramilitary forces have been deployed in the state to maintain law and order and 44 companies in the militant-hit Garo Hills region.
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