Borders sealed, Meghalaya gets ready for elections

443 kms of international, 885 kms boundary with Assam sealed till March 2, day of counting

NEW DELHI | Updated: 26 February, 2023 5:40 pm IST
Meghalaya poll officials crossed the iconic double decker living root bridge to reach their respective polling stations   (Photo Courtesy Twitter @ECISVEEP)

The Election Commission of India (ECI) is taking all necessary steps to ensure a peaceful election in Meghalaya on Monday.

In the latest development, the Commission has ordered the sealing of the Indo-Bangladesh international border. The Commission had also ordered the sealing of Meghalaya’s border with neighbouring Assam.

The borders will remain closed till the counting of votes on March 2. The ECI also restricted movement along the borders.

“This step has been taken as a preventive measure aiming for a free and fair election,” ECI said.

While the state shares a 443-km-long border with Bangladesh, it also shares an 885-km-long border with Assam.

Around 119 companies of the Central Armed Police Forces have been deployed in Meghalaya for the peaceful conduct of the election.

Around 21 lakh voters will decide the fate of around 369 candidates in the fray on Monday.

With more female voters than male voters, it is not a surprise that the manifestos of political parties reflect the empowerment of women as a priority.

The poll will begin at around 7 am and continue till 4 pm at 3419 polling stations.

Out of the 60 assembly seats, 59 will go to the polls on Monday. The poll in the Sohiong constituency has been deferred following the death of UDP leader HDR Lyngdoh.

Former Congressman and former Lok Sabha Speaker late Purno A Sangma’s National People’s Party (NPP) won 20 seats in the 2018 assembly elections.

While Congress won 21 seats, it failed to stitch an alliance with others as Conrad Sangma, Sangma’s son and NPP chief, became the Chief minister by allying with the United Democratic Party (UDP), Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), and other regional parties.

Congress suffered a major jolt when former CM Mukul Sangma, along with 12 MLAs, left the party to join Trinamool Congress. The move also took away the main opposition party status from Congress.

While the Grand Old Party is leaving no stone unturned to revive its sagging fortune in the state, TMC is upbeat about its chance to upset the applecart as it is contesting 58 seats.

The BJP also looked confident, as it will contest all the seats in the state.

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