Meghalaya bypoll: 15 per cent polling in first two hours

Shillong, Oct 21 (PTI) An estimated 15 per cent of nearly 30,000 electors have exercised their franchise in the first two hours of voting in the by-election to Shella Assembly seat in Meghalaya on Monday.
Voting for by-election to the Assembly constituency in East Khasi Hills district, close to the Bangladesh border, began at 7 am amidst tight security, Chief Election officer F R Kharkongor said.
People trickled in small numbers to cast their votes and polling is expected to pick up by afternoon, he said.
The first five voters who exercised their franchise were awarded green medals.
The polling is being held in 58 polling stations, 12 of which are non-motorable polling booths that include Nongriat village famous for its double-decker living root bridge.
The bye-election has been necessitated following the death of sitting MLA, Donkupar Roy on July 28.
Roy who was the MLA of Shella since 1988, was also the speaker of the 10th Meghalaya Assembly and president of the United Democratic Party (UDP).
Roys son Balajied Synrem is contesting the poll on an UDP ticket, while Congress nominee Batyngshai Ryngnga and Peoples Democratic Front (PDF) candidate Mosjo Wanswet are also in the fray.
Two Independent candidates Komen Laitmo and Grace Mary Kharpuri are also contesting from the seat.
A total of 29,763 voters, including 14,809 males and 14,954 females are eligible to vote.
A three-tier security arrangement has been made for conducting the bypoll and one company of Central Armed Police Force has been deployed besides state police, static surveillance teams (SSTs) and flying squads.