Kohima, Feb 27 (IANS) Voting to the 60 member Nagaland Assembly was underway on Tuesday amidst tight security, an official said, adding that a crude bomb exploded barely an hour before polling took off.
One person was injured when the bomb went off at a polling station in Tizit constituency in the eastern part of the state at around 5.45 a.m., a police official said.
Nationalist Democratic Progressive Party’s (NDDP) chief ministerial candidate, Neiphiu Rio has been declared elected unopposed from the Northern Angami-II constituency.
A total of 11,70,548 voters, including 5,89,806 female electorates, besides 26,900 new voters have started exercising their franchise in 2,156 polling stations.
There were no third-gender voters in the state.
“Men and women in large numbers queued up in front of many polling stations well before polling opened at 7 a.m. in the entire state,” Chief Electoral Officer Abhijit Sinha told IANS.
He said the polling time in 103 polling stations spread over six districts will be from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m., while the polling time for the remaining 2,053 polling stations is 7 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Of the 2,156 polling stations, 1,062 are critical, 530 vulnerable and 564 normal polling stations, he said.
Over 15,000 government employees will be on poll duty and there will be 177 all-women polling stations across 25 constituencies in the state.
Sinha said there are 55 election observers, including 22 general and expenditure observers each and 11 police observers, besides 442 mirco observers.
Electronic voting machines with Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) machines have been deployed, he added.
The run-up to the polls saw several twists and turns – with the Core Committee of Nagaland Tribal Hohos and Civil Organisations (CCNTHCO) demanding a solution to the vexed Naga problem before the elections.
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and NDPP which has forged a pre-poll alliance in Nagaland is contesting in 20 and 40 assembly seats, respectively.
However, the ruling Naga People’s Front, which was an ally of the BJP at the Centre and Manipur is fighting the elections alone.