Shillong: A voter turnout of 44.7 per cent was recorded in the Meghalaya Assembly elections till 1 pm on Monday, with the polling process being largely peaceful since morning, Chief Electoral Officer F R Kharkongor said.

Polling began in 59 of the 60 assembly constituencies in the northeastern state at 7 am, as 21.6 lakh voters are set to seal the electoral fate of 369 candidates.

“We have noticed enthusiasm among voters in the Khasi Jaintia Hills region and voting is picking up slowly in the Garo Hills, too. Long queues were seen in several polling stations,” Kharkongor told PTI.

He also said “no untoward incident” has been reported thus far.

“Malfunctioning of EVMs came to the fore at a few polling booths, but those were later fixed. Polling is being held in a free and fair manner,” the CEO said.

The ruling National People’s Party is fighting to retain power while the BJP, the Trinamool Congress and other regional parties are vying to bring about a change in government in Meghalaya.

Polling is underway at 3,419 stations, of which 640 have been categorised as vulnerable’ and 323 as critical’, Kharkongor said.

Voting will continue till 4 pm.

Thirty-six of the 369 candidates are women, with the largest number of 10 being fielded by the Congress.

“Over 19,000 polling personnel and 119 companies of CAPFs have been deployed,” the CEO said.

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Chief Minister Conrad K Sangma is contesting from the South Tura constituency, where he is pitted against militant-turned-politician Bernard Marak.

Leader of Opposition and TMC leader Mukul Sangma is contesting from two seats Songsak and Tikrikilla. His wife D D Shira is also in the fray.

The Congress and the BJP are contesting 59 seats, while the NPP has put up nominees in 56 constituencies, the TMC in 57 and the UDP in 46.

Also Read | Meghalaya assembly polls: 26.7 pc voters exercise franchise till 11 am

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