On Thursday, Election Commission of India announced polling dates for Assembly elections 2018 in Tripura, Meghalaya, and Nagaland. The announcement was made by the Chief Election Commissioner, AK Joti.
While addressing a press conference in the national capital, Joti said, ”Meghalaya, Nagaland, and Tripura all have 60 seats each. EVM and VVPAT will be used in elections for all three states, first level checks have been completed.”
Polling for legislative assembly elections in Tripura to be held on 18 Feb, polling in Meghalaya & Nagaland to be held on 27 Feb; Counting for all three states on 3 March: AK Joti, CEC
”The Model Code of Conduct comes into effect in these states from today,” the CEC said.
Tripura: Polling – February 18 on all 60 seats
Meghalaya: Polling – February 27 on all 60 seats
Nagaland: Polling – February 27 on all 60 seat
Counting of votes for all states – March 3, 2018.
Terms of the three 60-seat state assemblies of Meghalaya, Nagaland, and Tripura would expire on March 6, 13, and 14, respectively.
In Nagaland, the Democratic Alliance led by Naga People`s Front and supported by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) holds the power.
The Left Front rules in Tripura, while Congress holds power in Meghalaya.
Earlier, a four-member EC team led by Deputy Election Commissioner Sudeep Jain had visited Tripura, Nagaland, and Meghalaya and held a series of meetings with the leaders of various political parties and asked them to make all preparations for the next assembly polls.
The Communist Party of India (Marxist) (CPI-M) has a strong foothold in Tripura and is in power for the past 25 years.
The incumbent Chief Minister Manik Sarkar is at the helm for the past 19 years. He held the term for the fourth time after the party swept away the 2013 assembly elections.
In the last polls in 2013, the CPI (M) managed to bag an overwhelming majority with 51 seats, while the rest was shared by the Trinamool Congress (TMC) and the Congress party.
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which did not win even a single seat in the last polls, has been working hard to overthrow the CPI (M) rule this time. Six Congress MLAs, who first joined the Trinamool Congress (TMC), switched over to the BJP in August last year.
Apart from this, there are three major tribal parties in Tripura- the Indigenous People’s Front of Tripura (IPFT), Indigenous Nationalist Party of Tripura (INPT) and National Conference of Tripura (NCT).
The election in Meghalaya is significant for the Congress party, as it is one of the few states under its rule. The Congress is in power for the last eight years in Meghalaya and had won 29 seats in the previous election.
Although Chief Minister Mukul Sangma had brought more stability for the party, the BJP is now looking to take over Meghalaya using the development plank.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi had in December opened several infrastructure projects ahead of the assembly elections in Meghalaya.
Parties other than the BJP too are gearing up to fight the 2018 Assembly polls in Meghalaya.
NPP (National People Party) is out with the name of 24 candidates, notably among them is former union minister Agatha K Sangma. The party also has quite a presence in Jaintia and Khasi hills.
Meanwhile, United Democratic Party (UDP) has decided to join forces with other parties with a similar manifesto and aims to bring down the Congress.
The upcoming assembly elections in Meghalaya having 60 seats will mark its 10th legislature.
As for the Nagaland state assembly, the Naga People’s Front is currently dominating the House.
Meanwhile, Nagaland chief electoral officer Abhijit Sinha said that the final rolls published has 11, 89,264 voters, lower than the electorate size of 11, 92,377 enumerated in 2013.
State’s Chief Minister TR Zeliang had met Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh and briefed him about the ‘desire’ of various civil society organisation and church leaders in Nagaland for a “Solution before Election”.
”The assembly election in Nagaland will be held on schedule,” Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh had assured him.
Various Naga groups had called for deferring the upcoming assembly elections in order to facilitate a solution to the seven-decade-old Naga insurgency.
Nagaland-based civil society groups have demanded the signing of a final peace accord with the insurgent group NSCN-IM before the assembly elections in the state.
Recently, the Naga Hoho, an apex Naga tribal body, had sought Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s help in postponing the forthcoming Nagaland assembly elections, saying that the vexed insurgency problem should be resolved first.