Shillong: With a little over a week left, Shella in Meghalaya is gearing up for the by-polls to the assembly constituency to be held on Oct 21. Preparations are now in full swing with security being beefed up in the region.
The October 21 by-election was necessitated in the wake of the sudden demise of speaker and United Democratic Party (UDP) president Donkupar Roy on July 28 this year. Roy had won the Shella seat for seven consecutive terms.
Counting of votes will be taken up on October 24.
Meanwhile, various security departments have been deployed in all the parts of the constituency. A general observer and an expenditure observer have already been appointed by the Election Commission of India for the by-elections.
Over 300 polling personnel have been undergoing training for the past month for the bypoll, and the final training will be held in the forthcoming week.
Speaking with EastMojo, state chief electoral officer F R Kharkongor said that all the EVMs have undergone first-level checking. Review meetings have also been held and inspections have also been carried out, he added.
“The deputy commissioner has also held review meetings on the preparedness for the polls. Apart from the rains, all other preparations are in place. We have 11 vulnerable locations along the international border areas having mixed population, so those places are also being closely monitored,” said the CEO.
In all, 58 sets of EVMs will be kept ready for polling day, with reserves also been put in place in case of any malfunction.
Due to connectivity issues in six places with no motorable road, polling parties will be moving two days ahead of polling day.
First green election of the state
In line with several initiatives that have been undertaken all over the country to fight plastic menace, and to opt for eco-friendly alternatives, the Shella bypoll will be one of the first in the state to conduct green election.
“We thought why not use Shella as the first election using-eco friendly materials? We have appealed all political parties not to use plastic in their campaign. From the Election Commission’s end, we have ensured that even for stationery materials, we have replaced pens with seed pens. We will be using local products like cups and mugs made of cane and bamboo. Polling volunteers have also been given training on the concept of green elections. Early-voter medals will be there as usual, but this time there will be ‘green medals’ for the early voters,” said CEO Kharkongor.