Voting begins in Meghalaya, Arunachal Pradesh and Nagaland

Voting begins in Meghalaya, Arunachal Pradesh and Nagaland

Polling for for two Lok Sabha seats each in Meghalaya and in Arunachal Pradesh, and  for the lone seat in Nagaland began today on a peaceful note.

In Meghalaya, Congress, BJP, former Lok Sabha speaker P A Sangma's National Peoples Party, regional party United Democratic Party (UDP) besides independents supported by small regional parties will fight it out in a multi-cornered contest in Shillong and Tura seats.

Sangma, who has won the Tura seat eight out of ten times, is pitted in a straight fight against Congress candidate Daryl Momin for the seat.

In Shillong a total eight contestants are in the fray, including the sitting Congress MP Vincent Pala, UDP candidate former student leader Paul Lyngdoh, BJP nominee Shibun Lyngdoh besides church leader P B M Basaiawmoit, who is fighting as an independnent.

Congress has won Shillong seat seven times between 1977 and 2009, with an unbroken stint in the seat since 1996.

Of the 15,53,028-strong electorate, 7,83,270 are women and outnumber men by 13,512.

There are 343 sensitive polling booths out of 2,562, of which 85 per cent are in the militant-hit Garo Hills region and classified as hyper sensitive. Polling stations along the international border with Bangladesh and inter-state border with Assam are also classified as such.

Security has been tightened in Khasi Jaintia Hills region following a 12-hr bandh called by banned HNLC since 5 am today.

Additional forces have been deployed and the BSF has closed the 443 km-long Indo-Bangla international border.

Governor K K Paul has already cast his vote at a polling booth here.

Arunachal Pradesh has Congress, BJP, NCP, Peoples Party of Arunachal besides independents in the fray in the Western and Eastern parliamentary constituencies, which are traditional Congress strongholds since 1975 except in 2004 polls when BJP made its dent for the first time.

Union Minister of State for Minority Affairs Ninong Ering of Congress is pitted against BJP nominee Tarir Gao and PPA'S Wangman Lowangcha in the Eastern Parliamentary seat.

In the Western seat Congress MP nominee and sitting MP Takam Sanjoy has locked horns with BJP's Kiren Rijiju in a multi-cornered contest which has eight candidates.

In the assembly polls the main contest will be between Congress and BJP but new entrant Naga Peoples Front (NPF), along with PPA and NCP are expected to put up formidable fight in several seats.

Altogether 155 candidates including 5 women are in the fray for 49 of the 60 Assembly seats in the state.

The rest 11 seats have been won uncontested by Congress. Among the winners are Chief Minister Nabam Tuki from Sagalee constituency.

An electorate of 7,53,170, including 3,77,272 women will cast their votes in 2,158 polling stations in the state.

An additional 20 companies of central paramilitary forces besides 24 existing companies have been deployed as well as 8000 policemen to maintain law and order during the polls.

All the inter-state check gates have been sealed till 5pm today.

The state capital is experiencing moderate rains since last night. The state government has declared a holiday today to enable voters to exercise their franchise.

In Nagaland, Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio of the Naga People's Front is pitted against Congress candidate K.V. Pusa.

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