Political parties making last efforts to woo voters

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Kohima, Mar 02 (UNI) With only a day left before campaigning closes ahead of the Nagaland Assembly elections to be held on March 5, all the political parties and Independent candidates were making all out efforts to woo the electorate.

National parties, including the Congress, BJP, JD(U), RJD, NCP, regional party Nagaland Peoples Front (NPF) as well as Independent candidates were busy in the last leg of their preparations and launching door-to-door campaigns with various assurances and appealing the voters to cast their votes in favour of the respective candidates.

All the 218 candidates, including four women, were trying their utmost to convince the voters about the various programmes they would implement in their respective constituencies if elected to power.

While the Congress is the lone party in the state contesting all the 60 Assembly seats, the regional party NPF, the main opponent of the Congress, is fighting for 56 seats in the elections.

The NPF, NCP, JD(U) and BJP leaders of the state signed a joint resolution recently and formed a pre-poll Democratic Alliance of Nagaland (DAN) and decided upon a Common Minimum Programme (CMP) for the DAN to focus their vision.

National leaders, including Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, who addressed one election rally at Kohima on February 27, Congress president and UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi, who visited Mokokchung and Dimapur yesterday, AICC general secretary Margaret Alva, who visited the Northeastern hilly tribal state, campaigned in favour of their party's candidates. AICC secretary Ranji Thomas was already camping in Nagaland since a month.

BJP national president Rajnath Singh and vice-president V Satish undertook electioneering for their party contestants.

Railway Minister and RJD chief Lalu Prasad also visited the state and campaigned at Dimapur for their party candidates contesting in the elections.

However, no national-level leader from the NCP and JD(U) visited the state, nor campaigned for their respective candidates.

About 12,99,888 voters will decide the fate of 218 candidates, including four women, in this year's Assembly elections.

Altogether 1,780 polling booths had been set up to conduct the elections. Of them 486 booths have been identified as normal, 554 sensitive and 740 hypersensitive booths.

In all 31 poll observers have been deputed in the state to oversee the overall ongoing electioneering and expenditure. Of the total 31, 20 are General Observers while the remaining 11 are Expenditure Observers.

For the first time in the country's electoral history, the Election Commission of India has involved the Churches in the state in the electoral process, as the documents of the Churches will be accepted as the identity of the voters.

Nagaland Chief Electoral Officer C J Ponraj earlier said this step had to be taken because of non-completion of cent per cent voters' identity cards as only 43 per cent of the electorate could be provided with Electoral Photo Identity Cards (EPICs).


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