87.1 per cent polling in Nagaland Assembly bypolls

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(Eds: Adds details & updates voter turnout) Kohima, Nov 3 (PTI) Around 87.1 per cent of the total 43,242 voters exercised their franchise in the by-election to two assembly seats in Nagaland on Tuesday amidst tight security measures and strict adherence to COVID-19 protocol, Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) Abhijit Sinha said.

Briefing media persons, Sinha said a total of 84.41 per cent votes were cast in the 22 polling stations under Southern Angami-I constituency in Kohima district while Pungro-Kiphire segment which has 77 polling stations saw a turnout of 89.8 per cent electors.

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

A total of 13,641 people are eligible to cast their votes in 22 polling stations in Southern Angami-I and 29,601 people in 77 polling booths in Pungro Kiphire, Sinha said.

Webcast and static video recordings were done in all the polling booths to ensure free and fair elections, the CEO said.

While the entire voting process throughout the day was by and large peaceful without any major untoward incident, except for complaints and counter complaints from ruling Nationalist Democratic Progressive Party (NDPP) and opposition Naga Peoples Front (NPF) under Southern Angami-I seat but it didnt disturb the polling, he said.

NDPP had complained of its supporters being denied of casting the vote while NPF had alleged that NDPP working president Alemtemshi Jamir and some of the ruling MLAs tried to disturb the polling by entering into the polling stations, he said.

In Pungro-Kiphire seat, polling in Singrep village was adjourned due to disturbance following a clash between supporters of two parties. The Returning Officer and District Election Officer Kiphire have also submitted the report and a new date would be fixed for fresh poll in the said polling station, he said.

Adequate security personnel were deployed and COVID-19 safety measures were put in place for smooth conduct of the by-elections, Sinha said.

On the experience of conducting elections during the pandemic, he said that all measures were followed within the 100 meter radius of the polling stations and there was not much hurdles except for deploying an extra polling officer and training on COVID-19 safety norms.

The by-elections to Southern Angami-1 and Pungro Kiphire seats were necessitated following the deaths of the sitting legislators Vikho-o Yhoshu and T Torechu.

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-1 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.

Counting of votes will be taken up on November 10. PTI NBS RG RG