Meghalaya seeks 79 companies of Central force for LS elections

The Meghalaya government has sought 79 companies of central paramilitary force to ensure free and fair polls during next month's Lok Sabha elections in the state.

The state has sought sanctioning of 79 companies of central paramilitary forces for maintaining law and order during the election process, state Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) Prashant Naik told reporters here.

In the last general elections in 2009, only 25 companies were sanctioned by the Centre, he said, adding that the BSF manning almost half of the state's border has also been asked to step up vigil along the International border.

Incidentally, the number of polling stations in the state has gone up from 2117 to 2562 (1633 for Shillong parliamentary constituency and 929 for Tura), he said.

There was also an increase in the number of polling stations along the international border with Bangladesh (79) and also along the inter-state border with Assam (138).

About 3,300 Electronic Voting Machines, with an option of the "none of the above (NOTA)" option, will be used for the first time in the state while the Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) would not be implemented in Meghalaya, he said.

As on January 15 this year, the total number of electors for the two parliamentary seats was 15,53,028.

Of the 15.53 lakh voters, 9.68 lakh were registered for Shillong while 5.84 lakh in Tura constituency with female voters outnumbering their male counterparts in both the constituencies, Naik said.

Meanwhile, the Centre has sanctioned Rs 29 crore to conduct the Lok Sabha polls in Meghalaya's twin Parliamentary constituencies.