Amid tightened security, voting is underway for twin assembly by-elections to South Tura and Ranikor in Meghalaya, where fate of Chief Minister Conrad Sangma will be decided. Sangma, who is also the national chief of the National People's Party (NPP), is contesting the by-election and is hopeful to win the South Tura assembly seat in order to retain his chief ministership.
Agatha Sangma resigned as member from South Tura Assembly seat to pave the way for her brother Conrad to contest the by-election. Conrad is pitted against Congress candidate Charlotte W. Momin, John Leslee K. Sangma and Kris Kabul A. Sangma who are contesting as Independents.
11:58 am: The voter turnout till 9 am was less than 5 per cent in Ranikor seat, while in South Tura constituency it was a little over 10 per cent, the official said.
11:45 am: About 7.5 per cent votes were cast in the first two hours in the by-elections to two Assembly constituencies in Meghalaya, Chief
Election Officer F R Kharkongor said.
08:00 am: Voting has started for twin assembly by-elections to South Tura and Ranikor in Meghalaya
Meghalaya: Voters queue up outside a polling booth in South Tura as polling is underway for the by-election in the constituency, following resignation by its MLA Agatha K Sangma (ANI) pic.twitter.com/FSFNJb3Q2z— India TV (@indiatvnews) August 23, 2018
The Ranikor assembly seat fell vacant after former Public Works Department Minister and five-time Congress legislator from Ranikor constituency, Martin Dango, resigned as member of the State Assembly and joined the ruling NPP after the government announced the creation of Ranikor Civil Sub-Division.
Dango is facing three candidates in his bid to get re-elected -- Congress' Jacquish A. Sangma, United Democratic Party's Pius Marwein and People's Democratic Front's P.N. Syiem.
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which is part of the NPP-led Meghalaya Democratic Alliance government, has decided not to contest the by-elections and support the NPP candidate Conrad from South Tura assembly seat.
However, the saffron party remained neutral for the Ranikor by-poll.
South Tura assembly constituency in West Garo Hills district has around 30,230 voters spread across 36 polling stations.
Ranikor assembly constituency in South West Khasi Hills district bordering Bangladesh has 65 polling stations with a total of 29,685 voters.
In both constituencies, electronic voting machines and VVPATs will be used.
Conrad, the lone NPP Lok Sabha member from Tura constituency, who was sworn as the 12th Chief Minister of Meghalaya on March 6, is a non-elected member to the 60-member assembly.
(With IANS inputs)