Shillong/Kohima: The north-eastern states of Meghalaya and Nagaland are voting on Tuesday to elect a new Assembly.
Polling will be held between 7 am and 4 pm. The two states have a 60-member House each, but voting will be held for 59 constituencies in both.
Follow LIVE updates on polling: MEGHALAYA | NAGALAND
In Meghalaya, the election has been countermanded in Williamnagar in the wake of the killing of NCP candidate Jonathone N Sangma in an IED blast in East Garo Hills district on February 18.
In Nagaland, NDPP chief Neiphiu Rio has been declared elected unopposed from the Northern Angami-II constituency.
Following are the latest updates:
# Governor of Meghalaya Ganga Prasad casts his vote at Oakland A4 polling booth at MTDC office in Shillong.
# Story of progress and development begins with a single vote, so I appeal to the people of Nagaland and Meghalaya to come out and vote in large numbers in the Assembly elections, tweets BJP president Amit Shah.
# One person injured in a bomb blast in a polling station in Tizit in Mon district. The bomb was handmade and was hurled at the polling station, in the wee hours of Tuesday morning, as per reports.
# I urge the people of Meghalaya and Nagaland to vote in large numbers in the Assembly Elections taking place today, tweets PM Narendra Modi.
# Voting begins at Shillong model polling station North after it was delayed due to issues with the EVM.
# Voting begins in both states for 59 constituencies.
The results of the polls in the two states, along with that of Tripura, will be declared on March 3, 2018. A high-decibel campaign for the polls in the two states came to an end on Sunday.
The BJP is making a determined bid to expand its footprint in the Northeast. For the Congress, the poll outcome in Meghalaya is particularly significant as it has been ruling the state for the last 10 years.
In Meghalaya, the Congress and the BJP are pitted against each other. While the former has fielded 59 candidates, the latter has put up nominees in 47 constituencies.
Though they are contesting the polls separately, in Meghalaya, the National People’s Party (NPP) of Conrad Sangma, son of former Lok Sabha speaker P A Sangma, is the BJP’s partner in the North East Democratic Alliance (NEDA).
In Nagaland, BJP’s hope hinges on its alliance partner NDPP (the Nationalist Democratic Progressive Party) of Neiphiu Rio, which is contesting from 40 seats. The saffron party has fielded candidates from the remaining 20 seats.
The Congress, which has given three chief ministers to Nagaland since the state’s inception in 1963, is contesting from only 18 seats, two less than the BJP, an emerging entity in the north-east.
There are 370 candidates in the fray in Meghalaya. A total of 18.4 lakh voters are eligible to exercise their franchise in 3,083 polling stations in the state.
In Nagaland, a total of 11,91,513 voters – 6,01,707 (50.50 per cent) men and 5,89,806 (49.50 per cent) women – will exercise their franchise. There are also 5,925 service voters.
The election process in Nagaland had started on a difficult note.
Following a no-election diktat from the Core Committee of Nagaland Tribal Hohos and Civil Organisations (CCNTHCO), advocating “solution (to the Naga political issue) before the election”, the political parties had initially kept away from the poll process.
Though the process of nomination-filing had started on January 31, the first batch of 22 contestants filed their candidature only on the penultimate day on February 5. There was a heavy rush of nominees filing their papers on the last day.
After the scrutiny and withdrawal, a total of 227 nominees are left in the field in Nagaland.