Vote without fear, says Meghalaya governor

SHILLONG: Meghalaya Governor RanjitShekharMooshahary in his Republic Day speech asked the people of the state, particularly the youth, to exercise their right of franchise freely, without fear or favour.

Assembly elections in Meghalaya are slated for February 23 and the governor, keeping this in mind, told the people to vote according to their "best judgment" and maintain the best traditions of peace and harmony during the run up to the elections and during the conduct of poll.

"The state administration is making all efforts to ensure free and fair conduct of elections in the state," he said.

Pointing out that of the 14,88,719 eligible voters in the state - out of which 7,35,794 or 49.42 per cent are male and the rest 7,52,925 or 50.57 per cent are female - Mooshahary said there has been an increase of 2,56,445 voters in total.

"Meghalaya is one of the five states in the country which have achieved 100 per cent photo coverage of electoral rolls and 100 per cent coverage in distribution of Electronic Photo Identity Cards (EPIC). I hope this trend continues," he said.

"During last year and even this month, as many as 1,00,428 voters have been registered. This remarkable increase in the enrolment compared to earlier years is primarily due to the successful implementation of the 'Systematic Voters Education and Electoral Participation' programme in the state for enrolment of eligible voters," said Mooshahary.

"In little more than a month from now we are going to have a new government. But government alone cannot effect a change without people's active cooperation. We have to work hard and hand-in-hand," he added.

Expressing concern over the growing incidents of crime against women, he said it was a "social disgrace" that in the tribal state, known for its respect and care for women, cases of rape and molestation were becoming "common occurrences".