New Delhi: The Election Commission of India Friday announced elections to three north-eastern states. Polls will be held in Tripura on 14 February, while elections to the Mehgalaya and Nagaland assemblies will be held on 23 February.
All three states have 60-member assemblies. Counting will take place on 28 February.
The terms of the Meghalaya, Tripura and Nagaland assemblies expire on 10 March, 16 March and 18 March, respectively. Voters in the states number 1.4 million, 1.1 million and 2.3 million, respectively. While most of the assembly seats in Meghalaya and Nagaland fall under the reserved category of scheduled tribes (STs), Tripura has 10 reserved seats for scheduled castes and 20 for STs.
Chief election commissioner V.S. Sampath said the model code of conduct will be in operation with the announcement of poll dates.
“The union government would have to take permission from the Election Commission before announcing any scheme of national importance,” he said.
The commission earlier asked the union government to defer its ambitious cash transfer scheme during the Gujarat and Himachal state elections last year.
The elections in Tripura are considered to be critical for the Left parties as it’s the only state in which they are in power, having lost the polls in West Bengal to the Trinamool Congress (TMC) in 2011. In the last few years, TMC has been strengthening its presence in the north-eastern states.
Nagaland is ruled by the Naga People’s Front, while the Congress is in power in Mehgalaya.
Besides state elections, the poll panel will be conducting by-elections to nine assembly constituencies in Mizoram, Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal and Punjab on 23 February and a day later in Assam, Bihar and Maharashtra. Those results will be announced on 28 February.