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By Our Reporter | Shillong, August 24, 2018:

The fate of the eight candidates contesting the bye-poll in South Tura and Ranikor assembly constituencies were sealed after the polling concluded yesterday evening.

The voting percentage in South Tura constituency 72.89 percent while the voting percentage for the Ranikor constituency was 88.9 per cent.

The by-poll to the South Tura seat attains significance as NPP president Conrad K. Sangma is contesting from the constituency and needs to win to continue as the Chief minister of Meghalaya.

However, according to political observers, Sangma is facing a tough battle from his rival parties which include Congress’ Charlotte W. Momin and two independent candidates, John Leslee K. Sangma and Kris Kabul A Sangma.  Conrad’s younger sister, Agatha Sangma who was an MLA from South Tura had vacated the seat to facilitate her brother’s victory from this seat.

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Meanwhile, Ranikor bye-election witnessed a triangular contest between NPP candidate Martin M. Danggo, UDP candidate Pius Marwein and Congress candidate Jackuish K Sangma. PDF chairman Pynshgain N Syiem is also in the fray. Danggo, a five time MLA, had quit the Congress to join the Conrad Sangma led National People’s Party.

Menwhile, talking to media persons after the polling ended in the two constituencies,  Meghalaya CEO said that there was a slight dip in the voter turnout in both the constituencies compared to February 27-Assembly polls held earlier this year in which the poll percentage in Ranikor was recorded at 89.5 per cent and in South Tura at 73.59 per cent.

He, however, said that there was not much difference in South Tura as the voting percentage was always between 72-73 per cent adding that the present percentage was without taking into account the postal ballots.

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According to the CEO,  there were few glitches here and there due to technical errors of four including 3 VVPAT machines and one Control Unit (CU) in Ranikor and 3 CUs in South Tura.

“These were immediately replaced and the polling passed off peacefully,” he said while pointing out that women, persons with disabilities (PwDs) and the youth also came out in large number to cast their votes.

 South Tura constituency has a total of 30,231 voters including 14,846 males and 15,351 females, 33 service voters and one NRI in 36 polling stations. While the largest polling station is Matchakolgre with 1337 voters, the smallest is Leper Colony with 151 voters.

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 The Ranikor constituency has 65 polling stations with a total of 29,685 eligible voters including 15183 males and 14487 females. Out of these, the largest polling station is Rangthong with 817 while smallest is Nongbahjynrin-Mawthabah with only 12 voters.

With Ranikor being a constituency which is highly inaccessible, the CEO said that the election department had come up with an innovative solution by engaging 10 runners who have contributed as “living bridge” for transmitting of information in difficult polling stations.

 There are five polling stations under Ranikor where runners, who are treated as ‘polling volunteers’, had to run a distance ranging from half an hour to about 3 hours from the motorable point, he said.

Meanwhile, the counting of votes in both the constituencies will take place on August 27.

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 In Ranikor, the counting centre will be stationed at the Deputy Commissioner’s complex at Mawkyrwat, the district headquarter of South West Khasi Hills while counting for South Tura will be held at the ATC, Tura, the CEO said.

 Informing that there will be a 24×7 security check, he said that two out of eight companies will be retained for ensuring law and order during the counting day is maintained in both the constituencies.

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