New Delhi, February 27: Polling for both Meghalaya and Nagaland ended peacefully on Tuesday at around 5 pm. While voter turnout in Meghalaya was recorded 67 per cent by the Election Commission and Nagaland had a voter turnout of 75 per cent.
“In the northeastern state of Meghalaya, 67 per cent voting was recorded. A large number of polling stations are still in queue and so we are expecting this number to rise,” Chandra Bhushan Kumar, deputy election commissioner, told media personnel in a media briefing. In Meghalaya, women electorate outnumbered men.
“Around 75 per cent voting was recorded till 4 pm in Nagaland but this figure is likely to go up,” Sudeep Jain, deputy election commissioner told reporters.
Polling in Nagaland also saw “sporadic incidences” including a crude bomb attack near polling stations which injured one person. Another incident of firing also took place with one person sustained bullet injury. In the third incident, EVMs in two polling stations were damaged.
To encourage people to participate in voting, “early voter medals” were also given out for the first five voters in each polling station of Meghalaya.
The counting for all three northeastern states – Meghalaya, Tripura and Nagaland – will happen on March 3 and begins at 8 am. The terms of the assemblies in Meghalaya, Nagaland and Tripura will end on 6, 13 and 14 March respectively. All the three states have 60 assembly constituencies each.
These three states 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 north-east after forming governments in three states in the region – Arunachal Pradesh, Assam and Manipur – since 2014.
In Meghalaya, the Congress party is fighting hard to retain its fast decreasing electoral dominance in the region.
For CPM, the outcome of Tripura elections is significant because that’s the only state other than Kerala where the CPM led Left front is in power currently.
In this elections, stakes are high for regional parties too, particularly in Meghalaya and Nagaland where they play a key role.