Northeast Elections 2018: 75% voter turnouts recorded in Meghalaya and Nagaland
New Delhi: Polling in assembly elections in two key Northeastern states—Nagaland and Meghalaya—took place on Tuesday with both states recording voter turnouts of 75%, the Election Commission (EC) said.
With Tuesday’s elections, the polling process for all the three North-eastern states—Tripura, which went to the polls earlier this month, is the third—is complete. The election results will be announced on 3 March.
In the 2013 assembly elections, Meghalaya recorded a voter turnout of 86.82% and Nagaland 90.19%.
EC officials are hopeful that the turnout figures provided on Tuesday could increase significantly.
Although both the states have a 60-member legislative assembly, 59 seats went to polls in each state on Tuesday. In Nagaland, one candidate has been elected unopposed whereas in Meghalaya, polling was adjourned in one seat following the death of a candidate from the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP).
“A large number of polling stations (in Meghalaya) are still in queue and so we are expecting this number to rise,” Chandra Bhushan Kumar, deputy election commissioner, told reporters in New Delhi. In Meghalaya, women electorate outnumber men.
To encourage more voter participation, “early voter medals” were given to the first five voters in each polling station of Meghalaya.
Polling in Nagaland was marred by sporadic incidents of violence. According to PTI, one person was killed and three others were injured in a clash between supporters of the Naga People’s Front (NPF) and the newly-floated Nationalist Democratic Progressive Party (NDPP) in Akuluto constituency of Zunheboto district.
The three Northeastern states, including Tripura, Meghalaya and Nagaland, are crucial for both national as well as regional players. The ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is looking to expand its political footprint in the Northeast after forming governments in three states in the region—Assam, Arunachal Pradesh and Manipur. The Congress is banking heavily on Meghalaya to retain its rapidly eroding dominance in the region.
The outcome of the Tripura elections is significant for the Communist Party of India (Marxist) or CPM, it being the only state other than Kerala where the CPM-led Left Front is in power. For regional parties too, stakes are high, particularly in Meghalaya and Nagaland where they play a key role.