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Meghalaya, Nagaland vote today; assembly bypolls in 4 states as well: 10 points

By, New Delhi
Feb 27, 2023 07:23 AM IST

Voters of Nagaland and Meghalaya are casting their votes amid tight security arrangements. The Erode East constituency seat in Tamil Nadu, Lumla in Arunachal Pradesh and Sagardighi in West Bengal was vacated after the demise of Thirumahan Everaa, Jambey Tashi, Subrata Saha, respectively.

Electorates in Nagaland and Meghalaya on Monday are casting their votes in the assembly elections, keeping issues in mind ranging from separate state's demands, corruption, among others. The voting for assembly by-elections on a seat in Tamil Nadu, Arunachal Pradesh, West Bengal and Jharkhand each are also being held on Monday.

Polling officials with the EVMs and other polling materials head toward their respective polling stations on the eve of the Meghalaya assembly elections at Nongpoh on Sunday. (ANI)

The bypolls on two assembly seats in Maharashtra Chinchwad and Kasba Peth were also held on Sunday.

Top points on Nagaland, Meghalaya polls and bypolls in 4 states:

1. In Nagaland, more than 1,300,000 voters are eligible to exercise their franchise to decide the electoral fate of 183 candidates in 59 out of 60 assembly seats. Bharatiya Janata Party candidate and sitting MLA Kazheto Kinimi won the Akuluto constituency in Zunheboto district uncontested.

2. The polling began at 7am and conclude at 4pm across 2,291 polling stations, out of which, 196 will be managed by women polling personnel and 10 by people with disabilities.

3. In Meghalaya as well, the voting will be held in 59 out of 60 assembly seats. The polling in Sohiong constituency has been postponed due to the death of one of the candidates. While the ruling National People’s Party (NPP) is fighting to retain power in the state, the BJP and Trinamool Congress are trying to unseat the incumbent government.

4. In the northeastern, over 2,160,000 people are eligible to cast their vote. A total of 3,419 polling booths have been set up. As many as 640 polling booths have been categorised as “vulnerable” and 323 as “critical”. Of the 60 assembly constituencies in Meghalaya, 36 fall in Khasi, Jaintia Hills region while 24 are in Garo Hills region.

5. The Janajati Dharma-Sanksriti Suraksha Mancha's (JDSSM) Assam chapter has put forward a demand to delist from the Scheduled Tribes those who have converted to other faiths, making it an election issue in poll-bound Meghalaya and Nagaland.

6. In Nagaland, there was a 'Framework of Agreement' signed between NSCN(IM) and the Centre in 2015 to resolve the "Naga political issue". While in 2017, the Naga National Political Groups had signed an ‘Agreed Position’ with the government, the Centre had said it would sign a single peace accord with all the rebel groups. In March 2022, Amit Shah announced to removal Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) from several districts of Assam, Manipur and Nagaland.

7. In Meghalaya, the ruling NPP might have to contend with the anti-incumbency factor this time. The lack of Infrastructure development in remote and hilly regions remains one of the core poll issues this time. Further, allegations of corruption are also haunting the NPP government. Another factor that might have a bearing on the outcome of this year's polls is illegal coal mining in Jaintia and Khasi Hills.

8. The Erode East constituency seat in Tamil Nadu, Lumla in Arunachal Pradesh and Sagardighi in West Bengal was vacated after the demise of Thirumahan Everaa, Jambey Tashi, Subrata Saha, respectively. The Ramgarh assembly seat of Jharkhand has been vacated for the bypolls due to the disqualification of Mamta Devi.

9. The bypoll to the Erode East assembly seat holds significance for both the ruling Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) alliance and the opposition All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK). While for the chief minister MK Stalin-led DMK, a win in the bypoll will reaffirm its popularity among voters even after staying in power for close to 20 months, a positive outcome will hold more significance for the AIADMK and particularly Edappadi Palaniswami (EPS), who will then be able to tighten his grip over the party, projecting himself as its tallest leader and silence his friend-turned-foe O Panneerselvam (OPS). Polling commenced at 7am in all 238 polling stations and will be completed at 6pm.

10. Elaborate security arrangements have been made for by-election to Ramgarh assembly constituency, where 18 candidates, including 14 Independents, are in the fray, a poll official said on Sunday. The polling will start at 7am and continue till 5pm.

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