Meghalaya, Nagaland State Elections: Voting Ends In Both States For 59 Seats Each

| February 28 , 2018 , 08:03 IST

Voting began early morning on Tuesday for the state assembly elections in the north-eastern states of Meghalaya and Nagaland. In Meghalaya, there are a total of 370 candidates for the 59 seats, with a total of 18.4 lakh voters eligible to cast their vote. In Nagaland, 11.91 lakh voters will decide the fate of 227 candidates for 59 seats. The results of Meghalaya and Nagaland elections will be released along with the results of Tripura on March 3.

While both the states have 60-member assemblies, voting on Tuesday is taking place for 59 seats only in Meghalaya and Nagaland. In Meghalaya, one seat will not go to polls due to the death of the NCP candidate Jonathone N Sangma during campaigning. In Nagaland, NDPP chief Neiphiu Rio was declared elected unopposed from the Northern Angami-II constituency before the elections as no candidate was nominated opposite him.

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Both the BJP and the Congress conducted extensive campaigning in Meghalaya. While BJP is working on expanding its footprint in the north-eastern states, Congress is looking to continue its rule in Meghalaya state which has been run by the Congress for the past 10 years.

The BJP campaigning, led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi himself, included star campaigners such as party President Amit Shah, Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh, Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman and Information and Broadcasting Minister Smriti Irani. KJ Alphons, the Union Minister of State was the BJP in-charge of state for Meghalaya which has a predominant Christian population.

The Congress campaigning was conducted by party president Rahul Gandhi, media chief Randeep Singh Surjewala and MP Shashi Tharoor.

In Meghalaya, the Congress is fielding 59 candidates, while the BJP is fielding 47.

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Meanwhile, in Nagaland, the BJP is fighting the elections in alliance with the NDPP (Nationalist Democratic Progressive Party) of Neiphiu Rio, with NDPP contesting 40 seats and the BJP contesting 20. The Congress, is said to be in talks for negotiating a post-poll alliance with the Naga People's Front (NPF) as opposed to the BJP-NDPP and is only contesting 18 seats in Nagaland. In the outgoing assembly, the Congress did not have a single seat, despite forming the government in Nagaland 3+ times in the past.

The Nagaland campaigning was marred by demands of finding a "solution" before the "election" regarding the Naga Peace Accord, with all the political parties of the state initially boycotting the state assembly elections altogether.