Nagaland Assembly polls begin amid tight security

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Kohima, Mar 5 (UNI) Polling for the 60-member Nagaland Assembly began at 0700 hrs today amid tight security.

Voters braved incessant rains that started last night to cast their franchise. Till 1000 hrs, 20 per cent polling was recorded.

Official sources said though the situation was generally peaceful, repolling was ordered in 15 polling stations, including 10 in Zunhebuto and five in Satakha.

While repolling was ordered in nine booths for want of stamps, sporadic violence was reported from the rest, including alleged attack on an NPF leader.

Chief Electoral Officer C J Ponraj said 31 Election Observers, 20 General Observers and 11 Expenditure Observers were working in various districts.

A total of 43,000 security force personnel had been deployed, including those from Assam Rifles, CRPF, BSF, Indian Reserve Battalion, besides over 10,000 state police, 500 Home Guards and 5,800 village guards.

All possible precautionary measures had been taken by the Election Department and Home Department to conduct a free and fair election, he stated.

In all, 1780 polling stations of the state had been identified as 'sensitive' and 740 'hyper-sensitive'.

Ghaspani-I has the highest number of 58,780 voters, while Mokokchung town has the least number with 6144 electorate. Kingpao under the Noklak Assembly has only nine voters, while Singrijan under the Dimapur-III Assembly has the highest number of 2142 voters.

There are 142 polling stations having less than 200 electorate.

More than 2000 Electronic Voting Machines were being used. Of which 1780 EVMs were in use, while the rest had been kept as reserved to replace any defective machine.

A total of 12,99,888 electorate - 6,64,984 men and 6,35,904 women - will decide the fate of 218 candidates.

Twelve political parties are locking horns in the polls.

Prominent among the candidates are Mr Neiphiu Rio(NPF) from Northern Angami-II in Kohima district. He headed the Democratic Alliance of Nagaland (DAN) Government before the President's Rule was imposed in the state on January 3.

Other contestants included former Chief Minister K L Chishi from Dimapur-I, sitting Rajya Sabha member from Nagaland T R Zeliang (NPF) from Peren, former DAN Minister Dr T M Lotha(BJP) and former Rajya Sabha member Apok C Jamir (Cong), son of Goa Governor and former Chief Minister S C Jamir.

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