The Telegraph
Wednesday , April 2 , 2014
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‘Dry’ promise by neighbour

Shillong, April 1: Wining and voting are not supposed to go together. This is what the Election Commission has been stressing on for years now.

And with a plethora of liquor shops located along the inter-state boundary, Assam, Meghalaya’s neighbour, has a reason to be anxious.

But today, Meghalaya assured its neighbour that “dry days” would be declared hours before voting to ensure that there is no free flow of alcohol.

Meghalaya chief electoral officer Prashant Naik met Assam additional chief electoral officer R.C. Jain here to ensure that polling along the inter-state boundary passes off peacefully. There are 126 polling stations in 105 locations along the inter-state boundary, and Meghalaya shares a boundary of more than 600km with Assam.

Meghalaya, with two constituencies, will go to polls on April 9, while Assam, with 14 constituencies, will vote on April 7, 12 and 24. On April 12 and 24, voters in constituencies along the boundary will cast their votes.

“We have requested that on these two days also (April 12 and 24), the dry days for prohibition of liquor supply in the boundary areas should be declared,” Jain said.

He also said there were issues regarding the movement of militants in the boundary areas, and a request has been made to Meghalaya to look into it. Naik has assured full co-operation regarding issues raised by Assam.

On the other hand, Assam has also assured to help Meghalaya poll officials, who will have to travel via the neighbouring state to reach their polling stations. There are 101 such polling stations.

Moreover, Naik said “status quo” would be maintained in the 12 areas of difference between the two states.

On the issue of dual voters, both sides said such voters have been detected and deleted. Further, Assam has been requested to help Meghalaya with vehicles for the movement of polling parties, especially in the Garo hills region.