Shillong: Chief Electoral Officer, Frederick Roy Kharkongor on Wednesday said there is a 2.36 percent increase in voters in Meghalaya from the previous assembly election of 2018.
Election to the 11th Meghalaya Legislative Assembly has been fixed on February 27 in which 21.61 lakh voters are eligible to exercise their franchise.
According to the Election Commission of India, the date of gazette notification would be on January 31, the last date of filing of nominations February 7, the date of scrutiny of the nominations on February 8 and the last date of withdrawal of nominations on February 10.
The date of counting has been fixed on March 2 and the date for the election process to be completed would be March 4.
The 10th Meghalaya Legislative Assembly expires on March 15, 2023.
Like in previous elections, female voters would outnumber their male counterparts in this matrilinial state.
Kharkongor said there are 10, 68,801 registered male voters whereas there are 10, 92,326 female registered voters.
There are several firsts for this year’s election process with 40 companies of central paramilitary forces already deployed in the state. Earlier such forces were deployed just ahead of the polls.
The CEO informed that the state election department sought 109 companies of Central Armed Police Force, but the Election Commission has provided 120 companies of central forces.
Asked if the election commission is anticipating breach of peace due to the entry of new political entities having a history of violence, Kharkongor said the increased number of central forces is for all three states (Tripura, Nagaland and Meghalaya) that go to poll on the same date.
“Meghalaya polls have been by and large “violence free” all these years and it’s expected it would remain the same during this year’s election too,” he said.
“Our biggest challenge is to stop the distribution of cash and liquor during the elections. We have been unable to stop it and so we are trying to educate voters that their vote is not for sale and also strict regulatory measures would be enforced,” Kharkongor said.
There are 34 “expenditure sensitive” constituencies across the state and Roy said that these would be closely monitored not just by the expenditure monitoring team, but also by the police this time. “Each candidate has an expenditure cap of Rs. 28 lakh,” he said.
Moreover, there are 747 “vulnerable polling stations” and 399 “critically sensitive” polling stations across the state.
During this year 50 percent of the polling stations would be webcast. In the 2018 elections, the number was 10 percent.
Senior citizens above the age of 80 years and Persons with Disabilities would be able to cast their votes from their home if they so wish. “We would be distributing form 12D to such persons who wish to cast their votes from their homes,” the CEO said.