CEC assures free and fair polls in three NE states

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Shillong, Jan 19 (UNI) The Election Commission of India (ECI) has assured free and fair Assembly polls in three North Eastern states.

The single-phase Assembly elections in Tripura, Meghalaya and Nagaland will be held on February 23, March 3 and March 5 respectively.

Counting of votes will take place in Tripura and Meghalaya on March 7 and in Nagaland on March 8.

''We ensure that the Assembly polls in Tripura, Meghalaya and Nagaland would be held in a peaceful manner,'' Chief Election Commissioner N Gopalaswami told reporters last night.

The CEC along with his deputies Dr S Y Quraishi and Mr Navin B Chawla reviewed the poll preparations in Tripura and Meghalaya.

Asked about the imposition of 'emergency' by the Naga separatist group the NSCN (IM) in Nagaland, Mr Gopalaswami said, ''In India many people or groups do things in their own way. We too have our own way as per the law of the land''.

Mr Gopalaswami said though there were some militant dominated pockets both in Tripura and Meghalaya, but elections in all the three states would be peaceful.

The ECI would review the security scenario in the three poll-bound NE states with Union Home Secretary Madhukar Gupta on January 21 in New Delhi.

The Chief Electoral Officers of the three states would also attend the meeting to finalise the allocation of additional forces.

Nominations would open in Tripura on January 30, in Meghalaya on February 8 and in Nagaland on February 9.

In Tripura, the last date for filing of nomination is February 6, while scrutiny will take place on February 7 and the last date for withdrawal is February 9.

In Meghalaya, nominations will close on February 15, scrutiny is slated for February 16 and the last date for withdrawal is February 18.

For Nagaland, the deadline for entering the poll fray is February 16, while scrutiny will take place on February 18. The last date for withdrawal is February 20.

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