75% voter turnouts recorded in Meghalaya and Nagaland

(Representative Image) Photograph:( Zee News Network )

WION Web Team New Delhi, Delhi, India Feb 28, 2018, 02.52 AM (IST)

Polling in assembly elections in two key Northeastern states—Nagaland and Meghalaya—took place on Tuesday with both states recording voter turnouts of 75%, the Election Commission (EC) said. 

With Tuesday’s elections, the polling process for all the three North-eastern states—Tripura, which went to the polls earlier this month, is the third—is complete. 

The election results will be announced on 3 March.

In the 2013 assembly elections, Meghalaya recorded a voter turnout of 86.82% and Nagaland 90.19%.

In Nagaland, Polling was held in 59 out of the total 60 constituencies as Neiphiu Rio, the three-time former chief minister and Nationalist Democratic Progressive Party candidate was elected unopposed to Northern Angami-II seat. 

Rio's party has an alliance with the BJP, which snapped ties with its long-standing ally the Naga People's Front.

Sinha said voting could not be held at Ladigarh polling station in Tamlu constituency in Longleng district along the Nagaland-Assam border due to the tension there. 

Voting could not be held also at a polling station at Suthotsdu village in Meluri sub-division of Phek district as a mob forcibly entered and damaged an EVM.

In Tizit constituency, a group of people snatched EVMs and the VVPAT machine at a polling booth. The EVM was retrieved but the VVPAT has still not been found, he added.

Of the 195 candidates in fray in Nagaland, NPF has fielded 58, Congress 18, BJP 20, NDPP 39, NPP 25, NCP 6, JD(U) 13, AAP 3, LJP 2 and 11 Independents. Five women candidates also contested.

Meghalaya CEO F R Kharkongor said polling in 59 out of the 60 constituencies was by and large peaceful and the election office is awaiting data from remote places in the Garo and East Jaintia Hills districts.

Polling was countermanded in the Williamnagar constituency in the state due to the killing of NCP candidate Jonathon N Sangma on February 18.

He said polling had to be stopped in one booth of Raliang constituency in West Jaintia Hills district due to EVM-related problems. In two polling stations in South Garo Hills and South West Garo Hills districts, officials forgot to delete the mock poll data from the machines.

The ruling Congress, which had won 29 seats in the 2013 elections, is facing the challenge from a buoyant BJP after the latter's successes in Assam, Manipur and Arunachal Pradesh.

The Congress, in power in Meghalaya for the last 10 years, has fielded 59 candidates. The chief minister is contesting from two seats.

Although the BJP drew a blank in 2013, it has put up candidates in 47 seats, including four MLAs of the current House who joined the party last month.

The United Democratic Party, which has eight members in the outgoing House, and the Hills State People's Democratic Party with four MLAs forged a pre-poll alliance and are together contesting 45 seats.

The other major parties contesting the polls are the National People's Party, the Nationalist Congress Party and the People's Democratic Front, a new entrant.

(With inputs from PTI)