All arrangements in place for Nagaland assembly bypolls: CEO

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Kohima, Nov 2 (PTI) Adequate security forces have been deployed and COVID-19 safety procedures are in place for smooth conduct of bypolls to two assembly constituencies in Nagaland on Tuesday, state Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) Abhijit Sinha said.

By-elections to the Southern Angami-1 seat in Kohima district and the Pungro Kiphire constituency in Kiphire district have been necessitated following the deaths of the then Assembly speaker Vikho-o Yhoshu and T Torechu of the Naga People's Front respectively.

Eight candidates are in the fray for the by-elections to the two assembly seats.

More than 50 per cent of the polling stations in Southern Angami-I and 40 per cent in Pungro-Kiphire have been identified as critical and vulnerable, Sinha said.

Sufficient deployment of security personnel has been made with CRPF and CISF guarding the critical and vulnerable polling stations while IRB jawans are placed in sensitive ones and Nagaland Armed Police in the rest, he said.

The CEO has appealed to the voters to exercise their franchise in a free and fair manner and follow COVID-19 safety guidelines.

From the time of entering the polling station till casting votes, all standard operating procedures (SOPs) - like thermal scanning at the gate, and providing masks and sanitisers - will be adhered to.

Hand gloves will be given to each elector before he presses the button on the EVM machine in the polling booths, the CEO said.

Demarcation for social distancing has been made in every polling station, he said.

Voters detected with symptoms of COVID-19 would be asked to exercise their franchise only in the last hour of polling, the CEO said.

Ruling Nationalist Democratic Progressive Party (NDPP) nominee Medo Yhokha, opposition NPF's Kikovi Kirha and Independent candidate Seyievilie Peter Zashumo are in the electoral race for the Southern Angami-I seat.

Five nominees, including Khaseo Anar of the Congress, BJP's Lirimong Sangtam and Independent candidates K Shellumthong, T Yangseo Sangtam and Kiusumew Yimchunger are in the fray for the Pungro-Kiphire seat.

Voting is scheduled from 6 am to 4 pm, he said.

An extra hour has been added for conducting the polls to provide enough time to the voters as all COVID-19 SOPs will have to be followed, Sinha said.

According to electoral data, there are about 13,641 eligible electors, including 53 service voters, in Southern Angami-1 constituency.

Pungro-Kiphire Constituency has 29,601 eligible voters, including 101 service voters.

The entire poll proceedings will be monitored through webcams.

All 22 polling stations in Southern Angami-1 seat and 23 in Pungro-Kiphire constituency will have webcams for ensuring free and fair election. Video recordings will also be made, Sinha said. PTI NBS MM MM