NEW DELHI: The Election Commission of India on Friday is likely to announce the polling schedule for assembly elections in Tripura, Meghalaya and Nagaland. The polling is expected to be held in February and reports suggest that voting in all the three northeastern states will be conducted in a single-phase.
The five-year term of the assemblies in Meghalaya, Nagaland and Tripura, with 60 seats each, would expire on March 6, 13, and 14, respectively.
The Left Front rules in Tripura, Congress holds power in Meghalaya, while the Naga People`s Front-led Democratic Alliance of Nagaland rules in Nagaland. The Democratic Alliance is supported by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
Earlier, a four-member EC team led by Deputy Election Commissioner Sudeep Jain had visited Tripura, Nagaland and Meghalaya and held a series of meetings with the leaders of various political parties and asked them to make all preparations in place for the next assembly polls.
The final electoral rolls of Tripura have been published with names of 25, 69,216 voters, Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) Sriram Taranikanti said. For the first time, the third gender option was included in the final rolls and 11 people have registered their names under the category, Taranikanti said.
Of the remaining 25, 69,205 voters, 13, 03,420 are males and 12, 65,785 females.
The final rolls were published on January 5 after looking into all claims and objections filed from different quarters of Tripura, where assembly elections are due in the first half of this year, the CEO said. During the course of electoral rolls revision, the names of 98,064 voters were deleted and 47,800 first-timers between 18 and 19 years were added, he said.
Women have outnumbered men, making up for 50.4 per cent of the registered voters in the final electoral rolls of Meghalaya. The voters' list, published on January 9, has names of 18, 30, 104 voters, of which 9, 23,848 are women, chief electoral officer (CEO) F R Kharkongor said.
The final list was released after looking into the claims and objections filed from different quarters of Meghalaya, where assembly elections are due in the first half of this year, he said.
Meghalaya, with a population of 3.2 million people, has a literacy rate of 74.4 %, according to the official records of the state government. The tenure of the current assembly expires on March 6 and the Election Commission is making last-minute preparations before announcing the poll date, the CEO said. During the course of electoral rolls revision, the names of 3, 27,595 voters, including 42,843 first-timers in age group of 18 to 19 years, were added to the list.
A total of 8,276 names were deleted from the roll and 6,645 applications were rejected, Kharkongor said. Unlike Tripura, no one in Meghalaya registered for the third gender option in the final rolls.
The assembly election in Nagaland will be held on schedule, Home Minister Rajnath Singh said today amidst a demand by the state's civil society groups for deferring the polls to facilitate a solution to the vexed Naga insurgency issue.
This was conveyed by the home minister to Nagaland Chief Minister T R Zeliang when the latter met him here yesterday.
"HM also told the Nagaland Chief Minister that announcing the dates for assembly elections is the prerogative of the Election Commission and the elections have to be held on schedule," the office of the home minister tweeted.
During the meeting, the chief minister also gave some suggestions to the home minister for a solution to the vexed Naga issue. "HM told him that the negotiations of various Naga groups with the interlocutor will continue," another tweet said.
Nagaland Health and Family Welfare Minister Imkong Imchen on Tuesday said he supported the demand of various Naga groups to defer the upcoming assembly elections in order to facilitate a solution to the seven-decade-old Naga insurgency.
Various civil society groups have placed the demand -- signing of a final peace accord with the insurgent group NSCN-IM before the assembly elections.
On Tuesday, the Naga Hoho, an apex Naga tribal body, has sought Prime Minister Narendra Modi's help in postponing the forthcoming Nagaland assembly elections, saying that the vexed insurgency problem should be resolved first.
The expectations for a lasting peace have soared in Nagaland, which had been hit by insurgency for decades, after the Centre and the NSCN-IM signed a framework agreement in 2015. The National Socialist Council of Nagaland (Isak-Muivah) (NSCN-IM) has been engaged with peace talks with the interlocutor of the central government since 1997, when it announced a ceasefire agreement after a bloody insurgency movement which started in Nagaland soon after the country's Independence.
(Wi th PTI inputs)