SHILLONG, May 28: The by-election to the Ampati assembly constituency in South West Garo Hills district witnessed a 90.4 percent voter turnout, as people flocked to the polling stations on Monday to choose a new representative.
It may be mentioned that in the February 27 poll, the polling percentage was clocked at 90.7 percent.
Amidst the heat, both natural and political, people were seen lining up to choose their legislator.
Despite the pre-polling day heat and high voltage campaigning especially by the ruling National People’s Party (NPP) and the Congress, the polling day passed off peacefully.
In the run up to the by-poll many FIRs and counter FIRs were filed by both the NPP and the Congress, the latter even alleging that Home Minister, James K Sangma and his sister and South Tura legislator, Agatha K Sangma violated the model code of conduct and misuse of official power by attempting to buy votes.
There were also rumours that Chief Minister, Conrad Kongkal Sangma visited Ampati on Sunday night Rumour has it that the CM along with his convoy entered the constituency on Sunday.
Meanwhile, when contacted, the Meghalaya Chief Election Officer (CEO) FR Kharkongor has stated that till now, they have not received any official complaint and were only informed about the CM’s visit through social media posts.
“I have heard such reports but we haven’t received any complaint in black and white,” Kharkongor said adding that he has directed the DO and RO to ascertain if there is any such case “and if the reports are verified, then a show cause notice will be issued to the NPP candidate”.
Polling was conducted in all the 39 polling stations spread across the constituency was held from 7 am till 4 pm.
“The total percentage of voter turnout has been recorded at 90.4 per cent and there were no reports of any untoward incident,” Meghalaya’s Chief Electoral Officer, Frederick Roy Kharkongor informed.
He also informed that in the run-up to the polling day five FIRs were lodged by the parties contesting the by-poll.
The CEO said that no defects were detected in EVMs and only one VVPAT at Rongramgre polling station was changed after it encounter a technical snag. Which was subsequently replaced.
Kharkongor also said that a lot of poll welfare measures like crèches for mothers with children were created even as he added that due to facilities built by the state election department many people with disabilities also came out to exercise their franchise.
Three candidates are in the fray for the bye election which include, Congress candidate, Miani Dalbot Shira, eldest daughter of Dr Mukul Sangma, the former Chief Minister and current Leader of Opposition, NPP’s candidate, Clement G. Momin, and Subhankar Koch, who is contesting as an Independent.
Clement, the NPP candidate said that he was confident the people of Ampati will give the mandate in his favour.
“We have worked hard to create sensitisation on core issues and agenda of our party. The Chief Minister himself have reached out to many areas and have assured to create better infrastructure and development of Ampati. I am sure people of the constituency will express their right with wisdom,” Momin said.
The bye election was necessitated after Dr Sangma decided to give up the Ampati seat he had represented since 1993, as he was also elected as MLA of Songsak in East Garo Hills district in the Assembly elections held on February 27 this year.