Polling began on Wednesday in six constituencies spread across four north-eastern states in round two of the nine-phase Lok Sabha elections. Elections to the sole Lok Sabha seat in Mizoram was postponed to April 11 on Tuesday following a state-wide bandh called against exercise of franchise by Bru voters lodged in Tripura camps through postal ballots.
Voting will be held in one seat each in Nagaland and Manipur and two seats each in Arunchal Pradesh and Meghalaya. In Arunachal Pradesh, simultaneous elections will be held for 49 of the 60 Assembly seats.
The campaigning in these constituencies has already ended. Nagaland's lone Parliamentary seat will see only three candidates - chief minister Neiphiu Rio (NPF), Congress' KV Pusa and Akheu Achumi of Socialist Party (India) in the race. An electorate of 11,79,881 will be eligible to cast their votes.
Editorial: Power to the ballot
Elections will be held Wednesday in Outer Manipur Lok Sabha seat, one of the two Lok Sabha constituencies in Manipur. Among the 10 contestants are nominees of BJP, Congress, Trinamool Congress, Naga People's Front, NCP, JD(U) and Aam Admi Party. Three independents are also in the fray. Prominent candidates are sitting Congress MP Thangso Baite, Gangmumei Kamei (BJP), C. Doungel (NCP), Kim Gangte (Trinamool Congress), Soso Lorho (Naga People's Front), L Gangte (JD-U) and MK Zou (AAP). Out of total electorate of 9,11,699, 4,63,068 are women. There are 511 polling booths. Polling for the second seat in the state, Inner Manipur constituency will be held on April 17.
In Arunachal Pradesh, Western and Eastern parliamentary constituencies will witness a multi-cornered contest among Congress, BJP, NCP, PPA and independents. Among the eight candidates in the Western seat are Congress nominee and sitting MP Takam Sanjoy locking horns with former MP Kiren Rijiju, a BJP nominee.
In the Eastern Arunachal Parliamentary seat, Union minister of state for minority affairs Ninong Ering of Congress is contesting against BJP nominee Tapir Gao and Wangman Lowangcha on a People's Party of Arunachal ticket.
Both the Lok Sabha seats have been won by Congress since 1975, but for 2004 when it was won by BJP for the first time.
In Meghalaya, elections will be held for two Lok Sabha seats which will decide the fate of 10 candidates, including NPP chief P A Sangma, sitting Congress MP Vincent Pala, former student leader Paul Lyngdoh and church leader P B M Basaiawmoit.
The Shillong seat will witness a multi-corner contest among the ruling Congress, the United Democratic Party and an independent candidate supported by two smaller regional parties while the ruling Congress will contest against the P A Sangma-led National People's Party for the Tura seat. P A Sangma held the Tura seat eight out of 10 times while the Congress won the Shillong seat seven times between 1977 and 2009. Since 1996, the Congress candidate has consistently won the Shillong seat.
Of the electorate of 15,53,028, women voters numbering 13,512 are in the majority. Meanwhile, the Election Commission on Tuesday deferred the polling date for election to the lone Lok Sabha seat in Mizoram and by-poll to Hrangturzo Assembly seat to April 11 from April 9 in view of a state-wide bandh called against exercise of franchise by Bru voters lodged in Tripura camps through postal ballots.
The EC decision followed the 72-hour state-wide bandh called by the Joint NGO Coordination on Monday in protest against the exercise of franchise by Bru voters in six relief camps in Tripura on April one to April three, through postal ballots.
However, the outfit called off its bandh this afternoon, saying the Election Commission and the state government have agreed to its demands. In the first round of voting on Monday, a high turnout of 85% was recorded for one Lok Sabha seat in Tripura, while Assam registered 76% in five seats.