2nd phase of elections begins in North-eastern states
ITANAGAR/ KOHIMA/ IMPHAL/ SHILLONG, APRIL 9:
Polling for six Lok Sabha seats in four north-eastern states of India began today on a peaceful note.
In second phase of the Lok Sabha elections, polling commenced in Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland, Manipur and Meghalaya.
Voting in Arunachal Pradesh
Simultaneous polls for two Lok Sabha and 49 of the 60 assembly seats of Arunachal Pradesh began today.
Congress, BJP, NCP, Peoples Party of Arunachal besides independents are in the fray in the Western and Eastern parliamentary constituencies, which are traditional Congress strongholds since 1975 except in 2004 polls when BJP made its dent for the first time.
Union Minister of State for Minority Affairs Ninong Ering of Congress is pitted against BJP nominee Tarir Gao and PPA’S Wangman Lowangcha in the Eastern Parliamentary seat.
In the Western seat Congress MP nominee and sitting MP Takam Sanjoy has locked horns with BJP’s Kiren Rijiju in a multi-cornered contest which has eight candidates.
In the assembly polls the main contest will be between Congress and BJP but new entrant Naga Peoples Front (NPF), along with PPA and NCP are expected to put up formidable fight in several seats.
Altogether 155 candidates including 5 women are in the fray for 49 of the 60 Assembly seats in the state.
The rest 11 seats have been won uncontested by Congress. Among the winners is Chief Minister Nabam Tuki from Sagalee constituency.
An electorate of 7,53,170, including 3,77,272 women will cast their votes in 2,158 polling stations in the State.
An additional 20 companies of central paramilitary forces besides 24 existing companies have been deployed as well as 8000 policemen to maintain law and order during the polls.
All the inter-state check gates have been sealed till 5pm today.
The State capital is experiencing moderate rains since last night. The State government has declared a holiday today to enable voters to exercise their franchise.
Voting kicks off in Nagaland
In Nagaland, polling began for the lone parliamentary seat in the Lok Sabha elections.
The poll will decide the fate of Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio, who is the candidate from his Naga Peoples Front party.
He is pitted against Congress’ K.V. Pusa and Akheu Achumi of Socialist Party (India).
This will be the first time that Nagaland would webcast poll proceedings of 84 stations out of the total 2,059 stations to maintain transparency.
Those polling stations can be viewed live through the CEO Nagaland website.
An electorate of 11,82,948, including 5,82,458 women will cast their votes during the day.
The State has 12 polling stations where vehicular access does not exist. Eleven are located in Tuensang district and one is in Mon district.
A total 1,475 polling stations have been declared as normal, 407 as vulnerable and 177 as critical.
A total of 33 companies of central armed police force have been deployed for peaceful conduct of the elections.
They comprise seven companies of Mizoram Armed Police, 10 companies of Tripura State Rifles, eight companies of CRPF and eight companies of BSF.
Nagaland Armed Police, IR Battalion and around 2,200 village guards, besides five companies of central armed police force have also been deployed to ensure free and fair polls and maintain general law and order.
Polling begins in Manipur
Polling began today for the Outer Manipur Lok Sabha seat, one of the two parliamentary constituencies in the State.
A total 10 contestants from BJP, Congress, Trinamool Congress, Naga People’s Front, NCP, JD(U) and Aam Admi Party, besides three independents are in the fray.
The candidates whose fate will be decided today are sitting Congress MP Thangso Baite, Gangmumei Kamei (BJP), C Doungel (NCP), Kim Gangte (TMC), Soso Lorho (Naga People’s Front), L Gangte (JD-U) and M.K. Zou (AAP).
An electorate of 9,11,699, of whom 4,63,068 are women, will cast their votes in 511 polling booths.
Polling for the second seat in the state, Inner Manipur constituency (valley districts) will be held on April 17.
Voting in Meghalaya
Voting for two Lok Sabha seats in Meghalaya began on a peaceful note today.
Congress, BJP, former Lok Sabha speaker P.A. Sangma’s National Peoples Party, regional party United Democratic Party (UDP) besides independents supported by small regional parties will fight it out in a multi-cornered contest in Shillong and Tura seats.
Sangma, who has won the Tura seat eight out of ten times, is pitted in a straight fight against Congress candidate Daryl Momin for the seat.
In Shillong a total eight contestants are in the fray, including the sitting Congress MP Vincent Pala, UDP candidate former student leader Paul Lyngdoh, BJP nominee Shibun Lyngdoh besides church leader P.B.M. Basaiawmoit, who is fighting as an independnent.
Congress has won Shillong seat seven times between 1977 and 2009, with an unbroken stint in the seat since 1996.
Of the 15,53,028-strong electorate, 7,83,270 are women and outnumber men by 13,512.
There are 343 sensitive polling booths out of 2,562, of which 85 per cent are in the militant-hit Garo Hills region and classified as hyper sensitive. Polling stations along the international border with Bangladesh and inter-state border with Assam are also classified as such.
Security has been tightened in Khasi Jaintia Hills region following a 12-hour bandh called by banned HNLC since 5 am today.
Additional forces have been deployed and the BSF has closed the 443 km-long Indo-Bangla international border.
Governor K.K. Paul has already cast his vote at a polling booth here.