Shillong/Itanagar/Kohima/Imphal: The country’s four northeastern states witnessed brisk polling in the Lok Sabha election yesterday, with Nagaland recording 82.5 percent voter turnout and Manipur as well as Arunachal Pradesh seeing around 70 percent balloting. Meghalaya saw almost two-thirds of its voters turn up.
The voting in the four states marked the second phase of the country’s 10-phase poll that will see 814 million Indians exercise their franchise to elect 543 members to the Lok Sabha. Long queues formed at polling booths in these mountainous states as voters enthusiastically turned up to cast their ballot.
An Election Commission official said in Delhi that Nagaland recorded an impressive voter turnout of 82.5 percent till 4pm. Manipur saw 70 percent voter turnout till 4pm and there were still long queues, said the official who spoke of a “possibility of 78 percent” turnout.
In Meghalaya, the voter turnout was 64 percent with a “possibility of going up to 66 percent” and in Arunachal Pradesh, it was 71 percent..
While polling was held for two Lok Sabha seats each in Meghalaya and Arunachal Pradesh, one of the two seats in Manipur and the lone Lok Sabha seat in Nagaland, balloting was also held for 49 seats of the Arunachal assembly.
In Arunachal, around 71 percent of voters cast their ballot in simultaneous elections to the two Lok Sabha seats and the assembly, even as voting was suspended in four polling booths after miscreants burnt down poll material in Sarli in Kurung Kumey district, state Chief Electoral Officer Chandra Bhushan Kumar said.
Voting in two other polling stations was suspended due to a boycott call by villagers protesting poor road connectivity.
In the assembly polls, 11 Congress candidates, including Chief Minister Nabam Tuki and two cabinet colleagues Tanga Bayaling and Pema Khandu, have already won without a fight. Hence, voting was held for the remaining 49 seats.
In Nagaland, around 82.5 percent of the over one million electorate cast their votes for the state’s lone Lok Sabha constituency. No untoward incident was reported in the state.
Due to security reasons, polling hours in Nagaland and Manipur was from 7am to 4pm, unlike the other northeastern states where votes could be cast between 7am and 5pm. In Manipur, around 70 percent of the total 911,699 voters in Outer Manipur Lok Sabha constituency cast their ballot with polling passing off peacefully.
Meghalaya recorded 64 percent polling as people voted to elect the two Lok Sabha members from Shillong and Tura. Voting remained peaceful, barring two incidents of suspected insurgents firing blanks near the Tolegre polling booth in South Garo Hills district and wild elephants disrupting movement of officials to two polling booths — Nokchi and Halchatti — under Tura constituency.