Shillong, Oct 21 : Voting in the assembly by-election in Meghalaya’s Shella constituency passed off peacefully on Monday with 84.56 per cent of the total 29,542 electorate casting their votes.
“The latest voter turnout recorded till 5 p.m. was 84.56 percent. Polling was conducted in a peaceful manner,” Chief Electoral Officer Frederick Roy Kharkongor told IANS over phone.
The by-election was necessitated following the death of former Assembly Speaker and United Democratic Party supremo Donkupar Roy in July 21.
Polling started at 7 a.m. and ended at 5 p.m.
No untoward incident was reported during the polling hours.
Men and women in large numbers queued up in front of the 58 polling stations well before voting began at 7 a.m., an election official said.
One company of Central forces was deployed to ensure smooth conduct of the by-election. The Border Security Force sealed the India-Bangladesh border along the East Khasi Hills district.
“There was no poll-related incident and the election was conducted in a free and fair manner,” Kharkongor said.
The UDP, which fielded Balajied Kupar Synrem, the eldest son of the former assembly speaker and UDP chief, is confident of retaining the Shella seat.
“We are very confident to retain the seat because of people’s support,” UDP leader, Allantry Franklin Dkhar, told IANS.
The National People’s Party, which is leading the Meghalaya Democratic Alliance coalition government and the Hill State People’s Democratic Party is also supporting Synrem.
The UDP is a key partner of the ruling MDA coalition government.
However, the Bharatiya Janata Party and the People’s Democratic Front, which are key partners in the MDA coalition government, have also fielded their nominees, Joshua Warjri and Mosjo Rock F. Wanswett.
The opposition Congress has again fielded Batyngshai Laitmon Ryngnga.
Ryngnga who came third in the 2018 Meghalaya Assembly elections from Shella constituency is hopeful that he will win the by-poll.
Grace Kharpuri, who won the Khasi Hills Autonomous District Council (KHADC) election earlier this year on a Congress ticket from Nongshken constituency, quit the primary membership of the grand old party to contest the by-poll.
Kharpuri is the lone woman candidate is equally confident to win the by-poll.
Komen Laitmon, a former HSPDP leader is also fighting the by- election as an Independent candidate.
The counting of votes will be held on October 24.