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75% polling in Meghalaya, Nagaland; 1 dies in violence

Source: PTI
Last updated on: February 27, 2018 23:02 IST
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IMAGE: Khasi tribe women show their ink-marked finger after casting their votes during the state assembly elections, in Ri-Bohi district of Meghalaya. Photograph: PTI Photo

Around 75 per cent voters exercised their franchise on Tuesday in the assembly polls in Meghalaya and Nagaland, where sporadic violence claimed one life in a clash between the ruling Naga Peoples' Front and Bharatiya Janata Party, officials said.


The voting percentage is likely to go up as complete data is yet to be received, the chief electoral officers of the two states said.

IMAGE: Women line up to cast their vote in Meghalaya. Photograph:

Nagaland Chief Electoral Officer Abhijit Sinha said the violence in Akuluto constituency in Zunheboto district left one dead and two injured.

Police fired to disperse the clashing party workers and voting resumed after the situation was brought under control.

A village council member received minor leg injury in a blast in a room adjacent to a polling station in Tizit constituency in Mon district. Polling was, however, unaffected, he said, adding some arrests were made in both cases of violence.

IMAGE: A young voter shows his finger marked with indelible ink after casting his vote during Nagaland assembly elections in Dimapur on Tuesday. Photograph: PTI Photo

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 electronic voting machine.

IMAGE: Elderly women show off their inked finger after they have cast their vote in the Meghalaya assembly election. Thirty one women women candidates are standing for the elections in the state.

In Tizit constituency, a group of people snatched EVMs and the Voter-verified paper audit trail (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, National People's Party 25, Nationalist Congress Party 6, Janata Dal-United 13, Aam Aadmi Party 3, Lok Janshakti Party 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 Jonathone 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 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.
Counting of votes would be taken up in both the states on March 3.

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