Assembly elections for the 60-member constituency of Nagaland and Meghalaya had begun today since 7 AM under tight security since more than half of the polling stations across the state have been declared to be critical.
Two of the prominent north-eastern states of Meghalaya and Nagaland are lining up at polling booths to elect their choice of government in their respective states for next five years. Both the assemblies hold 60-member House each and the polling was conducted from 7AM till 4 PM. However, both states will conduct voting in 59 constituencies as NDPP candidate Neiphiu Rio was declared elected unopposed from the northern Angami-2 constituency in Nagaland; and election in Williamnagar constituency of Meghalaya was countermanded after NCP candidate Jonathon Sangma was killed in an IED blast on February 18. Also, some interior polling stations will close polling at 3 PM to ensure the processing has enough time.
BJP is looking forward to expand its footprints in the north-eastern states, while Congress and its allies will try to keep hold of power. The saffron party, buoyed by victories in Assam, Manipur and Arunachal Pradesh, it hopes to make a determined expansion in the northern hilly region – while Congress hopes to keep hold of the 10-year-old power in Meghalaya. Since the declaration of election dates, BJP has emerged as a principal challenger and came up with multiple political coalition during the campaigning. This had led to a high-decibel electioneering – making most parts of both states critical. In Nagaland, from a total of 2156 polling stations, 1100 were declared critical, 530 as vulnerable and 526 to be normal – mandating heavy security in the state during polling timings today.
To ensure security and calm, 281 companies of the Central Armed Police Forces (CAPF) along with state police force have been deployed in Nagaland. While on the other hand, 106 CAPF companies and state police have been deployed in Meghalaya so that polls can be conducted peacefully. More than 15,000 government employees are deployed for conducting polling duty so that election would be conducted efficiently using the new VVPAT paper trials that are being used for the first time in the two states. The results of both Nagaland and Meghalaya elections will be declared on March 3, along with the results of Tripura assembly elections conducted recently.