Nirendra Dev

New Delhi

The Election Commission on Wednesday announced poll schedules for three northeastern states of Meghalaya, Nagaland and Tripura.

While, Meghalaya and Nagaland will go for polls on February 27, Tripura votes on February 16, Chief Election Commissioner Rajiv Kumar announced at a press conference here.

The term of Legislative Assemblies of three states – Nagaland, Meghalaya and Tripura are due to expire on
March 12, March 15 and March 22, 2023 respectively.

Elections will be held for all 60 assembly segments in all three states.

The BJP and it’s coalition partners are in power in all three states. It heads the coalition government in Tripura while it shares power with regional partners NDPP and NPF in Nagaland and Conrad Sangma-led NPP in Meghalaya.

The CEC announced that as many as 376 polling stations across the three states will be managed by women staff and even security will be catered to by women personnel, the Chief Election Commissioner said.

In Nagaland and Meghalaya, the last day of filing nominations is February 7 while in Tripura, it will be January 30.

In Meghalaya, both NPP and BJP are going to contest the polls separately. In Nagaland, BJP has agreed to play second fiddle and contest only 20 candidates as against 40 by the NDPP
in the 60-member assembly.

Analysts say many in these north eastern Christian dominant states such as Nagaland and Meghalaya will prefer
BJP hoping to accelerate development.

In fact, the Nagaland unit leaders have repeatedly urged the party high command to review the 20-40 arrangements.

The ‘Moditva phenomenon’ was at its best in the just concluded polls in Gujarat.

The just concluded polls in Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh and this year’s elections in three northeastern states and also Mizoram and later in Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Telangana and also in Karnataka will set the ball rolling for 2024 general elections.

In their respective speeches both Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP president J P Nadda have urged party
workers to struggle hard for the ensuing elections.

In Tripura, which was once a communist forte, the saffron party will hope for an easier contest with rivals
Congress and CPI-M marginalised.
A new tribal-based party may make a difference, but it cannot have a say in more than 20 seats.

The BJP’s mega promise in the northeast is to provide a corruption-free government focused on people’s socio economic development.

The hilly state of Meghalaya has nearly 3 million people with 75 percent Christian population.

BJP’s national vice president and in-charge Meghalaya is a Naga veteran M Chuba Ao. A Christian himself Ao is confident of a much better show this time as compared to two-seats win in 2018.

The NPP of Conrad Sangma in Meghalaya is faced with an anti incumbency and a series of corruption allegations.

The Congress was in power for 15 years till it was ousted in 2018; but the grand old party has lost veterans such as Mukul Sangma to Trinamool and the party base has crumbled too.

Christians, who make up 90 percent of Nagaland’s 1.95 million people, in 2018 showed preference to the BJP when the party could win 12 seats out of 20 seats it fought. In fact, BJP’s strike rate
was best as NDPPled by incumbent Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio had contested 40 but could win only 18 seats.

The Central Nagaland region comprising 25 seats and especially Mokokchung district is at present witnessing a pro-saffron wave even for this year’s polls.

However, the announcement of poll schedules will be shocking for a large section of civil society in Nagaland
and also pro-Solution NNPG.

Now that the moral code of conduct will come into play in Nagaland and two other states, there could be issues
about demand for a separate state in Eastern Nagaland as despite talks being held the centre may not be able to make
any policy announcement. There are as many as 20 assembly seats in the Eastern Nagaland region and the
influential Eastern Nagaland People’s Organisation (ENPO) had earlier threatened to boycott the polls in their


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By Editor