Meghalaya went to polls in 59 of the 60 assembly seats where more than 21.6 lakh voters will seal the fate of 369 candidates on Monday. The governing National People’s Party fought to hold onto power, while the BJP and Trinamool Congress gave a try to oust it.

Chief Electoral Officer F R Kharkongor said preparations for conducting a free, fair and peaceful election have been completed. Polling at 3,419 booths will continue till 4 pm. As many as 640 polling booths have been categorised as ‘vulnerable’ and 323 as ‘critical’.

Thirty-six of the 369 candidates are women. The highest of 10 women nominees have been put up by the Congress. The NPP, which has been leading the ruling alliance for the last five years, is fighting alone against former ally BJP, opposition TMC, and other regional parties such as the United Democratic Party and People’s Democratic Front.

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The ruling NPP has put up nominees in 56 constituencies, while the Congress and the BJP are contesting in 59. The TMC has fielded candidates in 57 seats and the seats, while the NPP has put up nominees in 56 constituencies in 46.

Conrad K. Sangma, the chief minister, is running from the South Tura district, where he will face off against militant-turned-politician Bernard Marak. Marak was imprisoned last year and later released on bail after being accused of running a brothel out of his farm house and participating in human trafficking.

Leader of Opposition and TMC leader Mukul Sangma is contesting from two seats – Songsak and Tikrikilla. His wife D D Shira is also contesting the polls. In Dadenggre, Congress candidate Chesterfield Sangma is contesting against NPP’s James Sangma. Election results will be declared on March 2. 

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