119 companies of CAPF to be deployed in Meghalaya’s assembly polls

Guwahati: The Central Armed Police Forces (CAPF) has deployed 119 companies in Meghalaya as part of the Election Commission of India’s (ECI) efforts to ensure a smooth election process.

According to FR Kharkongor, the chief electoral officer of Meghalaya, 40 companies had already been deployed and 79 more had been added following the Tripura elections.

FR Kharkongor said, “In terms of law and order, we have 119 companies in Meghalaya. We had 40 companies which had been deployed earlier and another 79 companies have been inducted after the Tripura polls.”

“In terms of law and order, it is very smooth. Unfortunately, one candidate of the Sohiong constituency passed away. We have already sent the information and recommendation for adjustment of the poll to the election commission. So in all likelihood, the election will be held in 59 out of 60 constituencies,” the CEO of Meghalaya added.

Kharkongor added that Meghalaya has 60 assembly constituencies, divided into two regions, with 36 regions in the Khasi, Jaintia Hills region, and 24 regions in the Garo Hills region.

The chief electoral officer said, “We have 3,482 polling stations in the state. All preparations are on track and all the 12 districts’ election teams have prepared all the actions and all preparations are in full swing. We have some very minor issues in Garo hills where there was a group clash between two parties at Phulbari in the West Garo hills district, but that was sorted out. We have already arrested 31 people. A few incidents happened in Shillong and the situation is also under control. By and large, election preparedness is going on smoothly,” he said.

The Chief Electoral Officer said that all counting preparations are in place.

“We have 13 counting centres here in our state, 12 counting centres in the district headquarters and one in Sohra civil sub-division,” he said.

The official also went into detail about the polling arrangements and the measures done to increase voter turnout in the upcoming Assembly elections.

“We have some unique polling stations, two are riverine polling stations. There are some interesting polling stations in Meghalaya. We have launched Mission 300 where five polling stations in each constituency have been identified, where the voter turnout is less than the state average. Last time in 2018, the state average was 86.90 per cent,” he said.

The CEO anticipated that at least 90% of the votes would be cast in favour.

“We are also using music in campaigns, awareness programmes to aware the voters, because the people of Meghalaya love music and music is a part of the DNA of people here,” he said.

According to him, the province has about 81,000 first-time voters.

“As a measure to encourage early voting, we have five early voters’ medals and will give to early five voters in every polling station. We have 240 special polling stations – 120 will be all managed women polling stations, 60 will be model polling stations and 60 will be the PWD polling stations,” the CEO added.

There are 21,75,236 registered voters. Of these, 10.99 lakh are female voters and 10.68 lakh are male voters in the state.

Elections for the Meghalaya Legislature will take place on February 27 and the results will be counted alongside those for Tripura and Nagaland on March 2.

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