A total of 372 candidates in the fray for Meghalaya Assembly polls 2018.
Among the candidates is Meghalaya Chief Minister Mukul Sangma, who is contesting from two Assembly seats for the Assembly elections slated for February 27.
On the last of the withdrawal of nomination papers, at least three standby candidates withdrew their nominations.
Talking to media persons, Meghalaya Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) Frederick Roy Kharkongor informed that that out of the 372 candidates, the number of women candidates this time is 32 and the number of Independent candidates is 87.
In the Meghalaya Assembly polls 2013, a total of 345 candidates were in the fray, including a total of 25 female candidates.
The three standby candidates who have withdrawn their nomination papers are Innocent Phawa, S Bamon and L Ymbon from Nartiang, Sutnga Saipung and Raliang Assembly constituencies respectively.
Kharkongor said that a team of the Election Commission to be led by Chief Election Commissioner Om Prakash Rawat along with Election Commissioners Sunil Arora and Ashok Lavasa will arrive in Shillong for a two-day visit on February 15 and 16 after visiting Nagaland, which is also going to polls on February 27.
While maximum 11 candidates fighting for the Rongjeng Assembly seat Ampati, Bajengdoba and Sohïong have the least number of three candidates each.
Kharkongor also informed that the EC team will hold meetings with the Superintendents of Police (SPs) and Deputy Commissioners (DCs) of all the districts, Excise and Income Tax officials for a poll preparedness.
There are over 18.31 lakh voters and 3,083 polling stations in Meghalaya.
Besides 633 vulnerable polling booths, 315 critical polling booths and 75 polling booths have been considered as both vulnerable and critical in Meghalaya.
The Meghalaya CEO also informed that so far, 6,391 licensed arms have been deposited with the election authorities while Rs 2.5 lakh and around 6 kg of explosives have been seized.
He also said that there will be 67 all-women polling booths and 60 model polling booths and 193 polling stations would be brought under web casting in the State.
Kharkongor further said that the EC team would also hold discussions through video conferencing with the Chief Secretaries of Meghalaya and neighbouring Assam to discuss issues related to inter-State issues in view of the ensuing Assembly polls.
There are a total of 172 polling stations along the Meghalaya-Assam border and 102 polling parties will have to move towards these polling booths through Assam.
Currently, 20 companies of Central armed police force have been stationed in poll-bound Meghalaya including 10 existing companies. Kharkongor also said that the remaining 80 companies of Central armed police force would arrive in the State after the Assembly polls in Tripura, which is going to polls on February 18.
All measures are being taken to ensure a free, fair and peaceful poll in Meghalaya, added Kharkongor.