Shillong | The voter turnout in Sohiong by-election in Meghalaya's East Khasi Hills district was 43.6 per cent till 11 am on Wednesday, with the polling process largely being peaceful, Chief Electoral Officer F R Kharkongor said.
Many voters were seen queuing in front of polling booths even an hour before the commencement of voting at 7 am. The polling will continue till 4 pm, he said.
"There is enthusiasm among electors and voting is picking up. Reports are coming in that there are long queues in front of several polling stations," Kharkongor told PTI.
"No law and order issue has been reported so far. Some issues regarding EVMs were reported in some polling stations and those were fixed. Voting is underway in a free and fair manner," he said.
First five voters were presented with mementoes and first-time voters were felicitated as an encouragement for taking part in the polling, he said.
Electors planted trees after casting their votes in a model polling station.
Voting is taking place in 3,328 polling booths, of which 1,100 have been identified as sensitive and 28 as critical. The 63 polling stations are being manned by over 300 polling officials.
The by-election was necessitated following the death of UDP candidate HDR Lyngdoh ahead of the assembly elections held in the rest of the state on February 27. Polling to Sohiong was then postponed due to Lyngdoh's death.
Votes will be counted on May 13.
Six candidates are in the fray. All of them are men. The nominees are Synshar Lyngdoh Thabah of the UDP, Samlin Malngiang of the NPP, S Osborne Kharjana of the Congress, Sandondor Ryntathiang of the HSPDP, Sereph E Kharbuki of the BJP, and Stodingstar Thabah of the TMC.
The National People's Party (NPP) is seeking to win the bypoll, which will increase its seat tally in the 60-member assembly to 29.
During the campaign, Chief Minister Conrad K Sangma, Deputy CMs Prestone Tynsong and S Dhar and a dozen other ministers canvassed in favour of NPP candidate, listing the benefits of the NPP which leads the government.