21.5 per cent polling in Meghalaya till noon

Around 21.5 per cent of the voters have exercised their franchise till noon for the Meghalaya Assembly election today, Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) of the state F R Kharkongor said.

Polling started at 7 am and no incidents of violence was reported from anywhere in the state, the CEO said.

"We have received complaints of EVM malfunctioning in some booths. The faulty machines were replaced and voting resumed within a short time in those polling stations," he said.

Meghalaya Governor Ganga Prasad cast his vote at the Oakland polling station here in the state capital around 10 am.

Voting is being held in 59 seats of the 60-member Assembly as the election in Williamnagar in East Garo Hills district has been postponed, following the killing of NCP candidate Jonathane N Sangma in an IED blast on February 18.

Women voters in colourful tribal attires were seen queueing up at the polling stations since morning.

Former Union minister and Congress MP Vincent Pala, senior Congress leader and Shillong East MLA, Ampareen Lyngdoh and state BJP president Shibun Lyngdoh were among the early voters.

Polling will be held till 4 pm across the state.

The CEO said a total of 106 companies of the Central Armed Police Forces (CAPF), along with the state armed personnel and police, were deployed across the state, especially in the troubled Garo Hills region.

Today's polling will decide the fate of 361 candidates, including 31 women and 80 Independents, election office sources said, adding that 18.09 lakh voters were eligible to exercise their franchise in 3,025 polling stations in the state.

For the first time, 67 all-women polling stations and 61 model polling stations were set up in the state, the CEO said.

State Director General of Police (DGP) S B Singh said 580 polling stations were categorised as "vulnerable" and that strict security measures were in place across Meghalaya to ensure a free-and-fair election.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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