Tura Congress candidate Daryl William Momin and social welfare minister Deborah Marak in Williamnagar on Saturday. Picture by Saidul Khan
Shillong, March 15: Meghalaya today entered poll mode with the issuing of the notification for Lok Sabha elections scheduled for April 9.
Along with Meghalaya’s Shillong and Tura seats, the other northeastern states which go to the polls on April 9 include Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur, Mizoram and Nagaland.
The filing of nominations will end on March 22 while scrutiny of papers will take place on March 24. The last date for withdrawal of candidature is March 26.
For a change, votes can be cast from 7am to 5pm unlike the customary 4pm deadline. The same timings will be followed in Arunachal Pradesh and Mizoram, but for Outer Manipur and Nagaland, voting will start from 7am and end at 4pm.
There will be 2,562 polling stations (929 polling stations in Tura and 1,633 polling stations in Shillong) across 2,165 locations for the elections in Meghalaya. There are 138 polling stations in 102 locations near the border with Assam and 90 polling stations in 79 locations bordering Bangladesh.
As on January 28, 2014, there are 15,53,028 voters in Meghalaya, of whom 22.62 per cent are in the 18-25 age group, while 50.43 per cent are women.
Among the electors, 5,84,070 voters are under Tura, divided into 24 Assembly segments, while 9,68,958 voters will cast their votes for the Shillong seat in 36 Assembly segments.
The poll expenditure limit per candidate for the two constituencies is Rs 70 lakh.
From Shillong, the names of sitting Congress MP Vincent H. Pala, United Democratic Party working president and legislator Paul Lyngdoh and the Common People’s Front nominee Rev. P.B.M. Basaiawmoit are doing the rounds as candidates.
The Hill State People’s Democratic Party (HSPDP) and the Khun Hynniewtrep National Awakening Movement (KHNAM) had yesterday expressed support for Basaiawmoit.
Last night, Congress leader John F. Kharshiing clarified he would not be in the electoral fray as the AICC has decided to re-nominate Pala from the Shillong seat.
For the first time, the None of the Above (NOTA) button will come into play, where voters can exercise the option to not vote for any of the candidates.
Tura campaign: Meghalaya social welfare minister Deborah Marak today introduced Tura Congress candidate Daryl William Momin at Williamnagar in East Garo Hills.
Marak described Momin as a “young leader, who aspires to bring about change” and said the Congress was making efforts to democratise the system and allow more voices to be heard.
Focusing on the youth, Marak said, “The Congress is committed to getting the country out of its economic downturn and creating jobs. India needs more young people in politics.”
“Our leaders should be able to speak out and voice the concern of the people they represent. Momin is young, educated and has the willingness to work,” she said.
Stating that the political life was full of challenges for young leaders, Marak said Momin may be young but he has the willpower to champion the cause of Garo hills and the Northeast at the parliamentary level.
“Young leaders have a different idea of building the nation than their older counterparts. Youngsters want to build a better nation with better policies. The next generation has the ability to build a better India by their work,” she said.
Though the minister did not hit out at Momin's opponent, veteran Purno Sangma, who is contesting for the ninth term from Tura as a National People's Party (NPP) candidate, she said the Congress wants to empower young people - be it in politics, education, employment or entrepreneurship.
Speaking on the power of democracy, Marak asked people to exercise their franchise in the right spirit to bring about change.