Voting for the 29 MDC seats in the Garo Hills Autonomous District Council (GHADC) went off peacefully with no reports of violence coming from any of the districts despite the call for a boycott of the polls by a group of pressure groups.
As of 5pm, South West Garo Hills witnessed the highest proportion of votes cast, with 76.34 per cent turnout. By contrast, West Garo Hills saw the lowest numbers, with just 60.95 per cent of registered voters going to the polls.
Voting began on a sedate note in all the five districts, with only a case of arson being reported in North Garo Hills in Soksan where some miscreants tried to burn down a bridge connecting the towns of Mendipathar and Resubelpara. Timely intervention ensured that the arsonists were unsuccessful in their attempt.
Prior to voting, the MDC of Silkigre and former Deputy Chief Executive Member of the GHADC, Augustine Marak, was allegedly manhandled after he was allegedly trying to distribute money for votes yesterday.
The incident, which took place at about 6pm, however, did not see any of the two parties involved file a complaint.
Most MDCs made for the polling booths early to beat the morning rush. While the numbers were low to begin with, it grew steadfastly, with more than 60 per cent turnout reported until around 3pm.
Barring one incident in Tura Government College where voters were turned back despite reporting before the cut off time of 4pm, there were no reports of anyone being denied their franchise. In the case of the Tura Government College, the officer in question refused to allow voters to cast their votes despite them being well within time. Deputy Commissioner, Ram Singh, despite requests, could not help change the situation, leading to many having to return home without casting their vote.
Chief Minister Conrad Sangma and his wife were seen in the voter queues at around 11:30am at Walbakgre, while the former CM and opposition leader, Dr Mukul Sangma, along with his wife and Mahendraganj MLA, Dikkanchi D Shira, were seen casting their vote in Chengkompara, near Ampati, towards the afternoon. Power Minister James Sangma was pictured casting his vote in Dadenggre this afternoon.
South West Garo Hills – which has four GHADC constituencies within it – saw more than three-quarters of eligible voters head to the polling stations. South Garo Hills (five constituencies) witnessed turnout of 73.08 per cent, North Garo Hills (four constituencies) 69.34 per cent, East Garo Hills (three constituencies) 67.37 per cent and West Garo Hills, which returns 13 MDCs, saw just under 61 per cent turnout.