Will Naga political issue cause disruption in Assembly elections?

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    Kohima, Jan 20: The hill state of Nagaland is gearing up for the Assembly elections. The elections for 60-member Assembly are scheduled on February 27.

    The other two northeastern states--Tripura and Meghalaya--are also voting on February 18 and February 27 respectively.

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    Authorities fear that the poll process in Nagaland could face disruptions as the state is on the verge of fixing its decades-old Naga political issue.

    Reports say there is a fear of poll process being disrupted with tribal organisations and civil societies seeking a solution to the decades-old Naga political issue before the elections.

    When the question was raised to Nagaland Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) Abhijit Sinha at a press meet, he said the term of the present assembly is coming to an end and the schedule was announced as mandated by the Constitution of India.

    He appealed to all sections of the society to cooperate with the election officers for the successful completion of the poll process. The election department in Nagaland is taking adequate measures to ensure free and fair polls on February 27, Sinha said.

    Addressing a press meet on Thursday, Sinha expressed hope that all electorates will be exercising their franchise in an ethical and informed manner without being intimidated or influenced.

    The final electoral rolls, published last week, has names of 11, 89,264 voters--6,00,536 male and 5, 88,728 female.

    "Of the 2,194 polling stations in the state, 459 are in urban areas and 1,735 in rural areas," he said, adding that 1,048 polling stations have been declared critical, 519 vulnerable and 617 normal.

    The Photo Electoral Rolls (PER) coverage in the state stands at 99.99 per cent and Electoral Photo Identity Card (EPIC) coverage at 96.95 per cent.

    "The identification of voters at the polling booths is mandatory. Those provided with the EPIC will have to furnish the details at the booth." Sinha said, urging all residual electors to obtain their EPIC from the registration officers of their constituencies.

    Elaborating on the security measures, he said, 273 companies of Central Armed Police Force (CAPF) along with 58 companies of State Armed Police Force and 5,698 personnel of District Executive Force will be deployed to maintain the law and order situation.

    Apart from that, 94 static check posts will be set up alongside 94 static surveillance teams and 180 flying squad teams, the CEO said.

    Notifying that the Rs 20 lakh is the ceiling for expenditure by every candidate, Sinha expressed hope that all political parties in the state will be adhering to the norms.

    The constituency with least number of voters is 27-Mokokchung Town and the one with a maximum number of electorates is 4th Ghaspani-I, he said.

    "Besides Electronic Voting Machine, the state will also have provisions for Voter-verified paper audit trail machines in all the polling stations," the CEO told reporters.

    At present, campaigns, designed under ECI's Systematic Voters' Education and Electoral Participation programme, are being conducted across the state, Sinha said.

    There is a sense of optimism in the northeastern state of Nagaland. After waiting for decades, people of the hill state are now hopeful as there are enough indications that the vexed Naga political issue would be solved soon.

    However, the naysayers say that it won't be an easy task to solve the political issue of Nagaland.

    "Unless and until, Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, and Manipur agree to give away their land, which would form a part of the Greater Nagalim, a solution to the problem is a long dream. We have to wait and watch how the Centre and all the groups involved in the peace deal resolve the crisis," said a political observer from the Northeast.

    Nagaland Assembly
    Party 2013 Current Standing  
    NPF 38 45 Election Date : Feb 27 2018
    Counting : Mar 03 2018
    IND 08 08
    CONG 08 00
    NCP 04 01
    BJP 01 04
    JDU 01 01
    OTHERS 00 00
    Total 60 59 (1 Vacant)

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