New Delhi, March 3: The counting of votes for the legislative assembly elections in Tripura, Meghalaya and Nagaland will begin at 8 am today, Election Commission officials informed. In all three states, there has been considerable voter turnout with Tripura recording a turnout close to 89 per cent whereas Nagaland and Meghalaya recorded a nearly 75 per cent voter’s participation. Also Read - Tips to Travel Amid Pandemic | Where to Go, How to Plan, Honeymoon Destinations And More From 'Travel With Searats'
Elections in Tripura took place on February 18 whereas polling in Meghalaya and Nagaland were held on February 27. Also Read - Tripura DM Removed from Post Over Viral Video of Him Forcibly Stopping Wedding Midway Citing COVID Norms
“At all the counting centres adequate security measures have been made. Counting halls were also ready. General observers and police observers were appointed for all the counting halls,” Additional Chief Electoral Officer said to news agency PTI. Also Read - Manipur Imposes Night Curfew Amid COVID-19 Surge. Check Details
The campaigns for the elections in all three states witnessed huge participation from top leaders of both the BJP and Congress. In this election, the BJP has emerged as a strong contender in all the three states and two exit polls have predicted that the party would dethrone the 25-year-old Left Front government in Tripura and consolidate its position in the other two states. On the other side, the Congress is in power in Meghalaya for 10 years the Naga People’s Front (NFP) has been in power in Nagaland since 2003, except for a three-month period of President’s rule in 2008.
Will BJP dethrone Left in Tripura?
Will the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) end the Left government’s 25-year run in Tripura? This is the moot question being asked just ahead of the counting of votes in Tripura.
The counting will begin on Saturday for the voting held on February 18 for 59 Tripura assembly constituencies. The election in Charilam constituency was postponed to March 12 after the death of Communist Party of India (Marxist) [CPI-M] candidate Ramendra Narayan Debbarma.
The tenure of 60-seat Tripura Legislative Assembly ends on March 6, 2018.
The much-awaited counting in this north-eastern state will decide the electoral fortunes of 292 candidates, including 23 women.
The BJP, which fielded candidates on 51 seats, fought the elections with an alliance with the Indigenous People’s Front of Tripura (IPFT) that fielded nine candidates.
Apart from Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP President Amit Shah, many senior BJP leaders vigorously campaigned in Tripura.
While the CPIM-M fielded 57 candidates; the Communist Party of India (CPI), the Revolutionary Socialist Party (RSP), and the All India Forward Bloc (AIFB) fielded one candidate each.
The Congress Party fought elections on 59 seats, while the All India Trinamool Congress on 24 seats.
While the political parties in Tripura are keeping their fingers crossed, exit polls have given mixed predictions. Some have said the BJP will dethrone the Left Front led by Manik Sarkar, which has governed Tripura since the 1998 election.
However, the real picture will emerge after the counting ends on Saturday.
An exit poll by NewsX TV channel gave the BJP alliance 35-45 seats and said the Left Front would bag 14-23 seats while one seat would be won by others.
The Centre for Voting Opinion & Trends in Election Research (CVoter) predicted a close fight between the BJP and the Left. It said the Left would win 26-34 seats with 44.3 percent vote share.
It predicted the BJP alliance to win in 24-32 seats with a vote share of 42.8 percent and said the Congress Party might win in two seats with 7.2 percent vote share.
Buoyed by the formation of governments in Assam, Manipur and Arunachal Pradesh, the BJP is making a bid to expand its footprints in the region.
Out of the total 60 seats in the Tripura Assembly, 20 are reserved for the Scheduled Caste (SC) candidates, while 10 are reserved for Scheduled Tribe (ST) candidates. The rest of the 30 seats are for General candidates.
Another highlight of this year’s assembly elections was that Voter-verified paper audit trail (VVPAT)-fitted EVMs were used in entire Tripura state in all polling stations, which was the first time that the entire state saw the implementation of VVPAT.
The last election for the Tripura Legislative assembly was held in February 2013. The Communist Party of India- Marxist [CPI-M] won 49 out of the 60 assembly seats. The CPI won only 1 seat while the Indian National Congress managed 10 seats in the election. Manik Sarkar of the CPI (M) became the Chief Minister of the state for his fourth term.
Will Congress make a hat-trick in Meghalaya?
As the counting of votes for the 59 assembly seats of Meghalaya begins on Saturday morning, psephologists have hinted that it will be very hard for the ruling Congress Party to make a hat-trick in the state.
If psephologists are to be believed, then the Congress Party, which has been in power for the last ten years, is expected to face a tough fight from the National People’s Party (NPP) and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
The NPP is an ally of the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA).
Out of three exit polls, no one has predicted clear-cut majority for the Congress party in the 60-member Meghalaya Assembly. At least 30 seats are required by a political party or an alliance to form the government.
In the last assembly polls in 2013, the Congress Party won 29 seats. The JanKiBaat-NewsX exit poll predicts that the Congress Party will be able to win 13-17 seats with a vote share of 21 percent.
The CVoter exit poll predicts 13-19 seats for the Congress Party with a vote share of 36.5 percent. The Axis-MyIndia exit poll has said the Congress Party is likely to win 20 seats.
This election may also bring some good news for the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which failed to win even one seat in the last assembly elections.
While the Axis-MyIndia exit poll predicts that the BJP may win as many as 30 seats, JanKiBaat-NewsX exit poll predicts that the BJP will win 8-12 seats. CVoter exit poll has predicted 4-8 seats for the BJP.
The Congress Party fielded 59 candidates, while the BJP put up nominees in 47 constituencies. For the first time, Meghalaya Chief Minister Mukul Sangma contested from two seats.
The Congress Party suffered a major setback on December 30 last year when five of its MLAs resigned from the Assembly and joined the NPP. Three other MLAs had also joined the NPP.
In Meghalaya, which went to polls on February 27, the voter turnout was recorded to be 74.62 percent. Out of 60 seats, the polls were conducted for 59 seats as the election was postponed in one assembly seat because a Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) candidate was killed.
Total 372 candidates contested elections.
On the election day, there were reports of EVM malfunctioning at a number of polling booths. According to the Election Commission, re-polling orders were given in only 1 polling booth of Raliang constituency in West Jaintia.
Out of the total seats in the House, 55 are reserved for ST candidates. The rest of the 5 seats are for General candidates.
The last State Assembly elections in the state were held on 23 February 2013. Electronic Voting machines were used in the elections and the results were declared on 28 February. The voter turnout for the last assembly election was 88 percent.
No party had a clear majority in the elections. The ruling Congress Party won 29 seats, falling just 2 seats short of forming the majority. The party also registered an increase in the number of seats from the last elections held in 2008.
Will Nagaland go in BJP-NDPP’s kitty?
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) – Nationalist Democratic Progressive Party (NDPP) alliance and the Naga People’s Front (NPF) are slugging it out to see who will emerge more dominant in Nagaland.
The counting of votes for 59 assembly seats will begin at 8 a.m. on Saturday. The NDPP Chief and former chief minister Neiphiu Rio has already been declared elected unopposed.
He was declared a winner from the Northern Angami-II assembly seat in Kohima district after his rival withdrew his nomination.
On February 3, Union Minister of State for Home Kiren Rijiju announced the BJP’s alliance with the NDPP and said the alliance will form next government in Nagaland with an absolute majority.
Rijiju also clarified that despite forging an alliance with the NDPP, the BJP was not severing its ties with the NPF, which has been its ally for last 15 years. The NDPP contested on 40 seats and the BJP on 20 seats.
While Nagaland Chief Minister and NPF leader TR Zeliang has expressed confidence of returning to power, the exit polls have presented a different picture altogether.
The JanKiBaat-NewsX exit poll predicts that the BJP-NDPP will win 27-32 seats. It says that the NPF will win 20-25 seats and the Congress may hardly manage to win 0-2 seats.
The CVoter exit polls claimed a victory for the NDPP-BJP combine in Nagaland, which is likely to get 25-31 and the NPF likely to bag 19-25 seats.
Voting for the Nagaland Assembly was conducted on February 27. The turnout was recorded to be 75 percent.
In January, eleven parties including the ruling NPF had decided not to contest the February 27 polls, agreeing to the demand of tribal bodies and civil society groups to resolve the Naga issue first.
Out of the total seats in the House, 20 are reserved for the SC candidates, while 10 are reserved for ST candidates. The rest of the 30 seats are for General candidates. Total 196 candidates contested elections.
The key candidates in the polls are Neiphiu Rio (NDPP), Biplap Deb (BJP), TR Zeliang (NPF), Yanthungo Patton (BJP), K L Chishi (BJP) and Kewekhape Therie (INC).
On the election day, there were reports of EVM malfunctioning. There were reports of violence as well. One person was reportedly shot dead and two others were injured.
In the last Assembly polls in 2013, NPF won 38 seats, while both the Congress and Independent candidates managed 8 seats. One seat was won each by BJP and JD (U). The NCP (Nationalist Congress Party) won 4 seats.
(With input from agencies)