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38% voting recorded in Nagaland

Kohima, Feb 27 (IANS) Voting to elect new lawmakers to the 60-member Nagaland Assembly was underway on Tuesday. Over 38 per cent polling was recorded till 11 a.m., election officials said.

One person was injured when a bomb went off at a polling station and a mob destroyed a Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) machine in Tizit constituency in the eastern part of the state, Chief Electoral Officer Abhijit Sinha told IANS.

He said polling has resumed and was going on smoothly in the affected polling station under Tizit assembly seat.

“There are also reports of some stray incidents but voting is going on peacefully so far and the enthusiasm has been very encouraging in some areas,” he said.

Three-time Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio of the Nationalist Democratic Progressive Party’s (NDDP) has been declared elected unopposed from the Northern Angami-II constituency after his lone rival candidate Chupfuo Angami of the ruling Naga People’s Front (NPF) withdrew his nomination on February 12.

The newly floated NDPP which has stitched an alliance with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is contesting in 40 and 20 assembly seats, respectively.

However, the incumbent Chief Minister T.R.Zeliang voiced confidence that the NPF will retain power in Nagaland.

“We are confident that we will emerge single largest party on March 3. We will retain and lead the government,” Zeliang told IANS.

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.

Sinha 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.

A total of 11.70 lakh voters will exercise their franchise in 2,156 polling stations of which 1,062 are critical, 530 vulnerable and 564 normal, he said.

Over 15,000 government employees have been deployed for 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.

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