High voter turnout in Nagaland polls

High voter turnout in Nagaland polls
(L) Voters in queue at Zenuobadze, Kohima. (C) 99 year old Dielepuu casting her vote at Chiechama. (R) CM arrives with his family to cast their vote. (DIPR)
Correspondents KOHIMA, APR 11 (NPN) | Publish Date: 4/11/2019 12:40:30 PM IST

78.67% turnout for LS poll and 88.5% for by-poll

Nagaland on Thursday saw a high voter turnout for election to the Lok Sabha seat with 78.67%, while by-election to the 26-Aonglenden witnessed 88.5% percent turnout.

Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) Abhijit Sinha said that the polling process was conducted in a free, fair and peaceful manner with no report of untoward incidents. As per data (till 4 p.m.) made available by the office of the Chief Electoral Officer, Pughoboto election district recorded the highest voter turn-out at 93.93% followed by Mon district with 88.43%, Wokha 85. 98%, Kiphire 85.37%, Longleng 84.70 %, Mokokchung 83.16%, Phek 82.48%, Zunheboto 81.76 % and Dimapur 74.59%. 

The lowest voter turn-out was in Peren district with 64.43% followed by Kohima 64.73% and Tuensang district 73.9%.

“We expect the percentage to increase,” Sinha said while addressing the media here along with Commissioner Nagaland and Returning officer (RO), M. Patton. Despite low physical voter turnout, the overall voting percentage was reportedly high.

However, when asked whether this was a result of rampant proxy voting, Sinha assured to check proxy voting. Sinha also informed that his office was yet to receive any official complaint or evidence of proxy voting. If any such complaint/s is received, appropriate action would be initiated, he added. 

A voter under of P.S. 24 under 9th Kohima town informed this Correspondent that his vote was casted some other person. Accordingly, the voter said he had lodged a complaint with the presiding officer.

Though there were reports of technical snags in some electronic voting machines (EVMs). Sinha however said that the EVMs were replaced immediately. He also informed that 35 Ballot Units, 54 Control Units and 68 VVPATs were replaced during the mock poll exercise. 

CEO informed that a complaint was received at a polling station in Lumami regarding machine malfunction. However, after DC Zunheboto was directed to check the machines along with the polling agents and polling personnel, it was found that the allegation was wrong. 

Sinha said that another complaint was received under Tyui AC and re-poll was demanded. This will be decided during the scrutiny, after analyzing the documents, he added.

Commissioner Nagaland and Returning officer (RO), M. Patton said complaints were also received from NDPP party apprehending disturbance in polling station 30 and 47 at Dimapur III A/C. He said DEO Dimapur was informed to take stock of the matter and found no complaints were received during polling process.

Patton also informed that some machines failed to work at Polling Station no. 19 under 21-Tuli AC, but were replaced from the neighboring sector. The polling process went on till 8 p.m.

For the by-poll, with 12,436 voters, the 26 Aonglenden seat witnessed a straight contest between NDPP/PDA consensus candidate Sharingain Longkumer and Congress nominee Alemjongshi Longkumer.

A total of 2,227 polling stations were set up across 12 election districts, while 75 companies of security forces, including central armed police forces, IRBn and State Police, were deployed for smooth conduct of the election process. These forces were complemented by Home Guards and over 1,000 village guards.

Meanwhile, chief minister Neiphiu Rio, who cast his vote at Tuophema village in Kohima district, in his tweet said he went to cast his vote and exercised his democratic right. “I urge everyone to participate in the electoral process in large numbers,” he tweeted.

In another tweet in the evening, the chief minister said peaceful election was an essential requirement for a stable democracy. “I congratulate the people of Nagaland & all the states which peacefully voted, especially the first time voters, who came forward in support of democracy & exercised your right,” he tweeted.

It may be mentioned that the lone Nagaland Lok Sabha, with a total of 12,13,777 voters, witnessed a quadrangular contest among Congress candidate K.L. Chishi, to whom NPF extended support, NDPP-PDA consensus candidate Tokheho Yepthomi, NPP nominee Hayithung Tungoe and Independent Dr. M.M. Thromwa Konyak.

Peaceful election, says Tokheho: Sitting Member of Parliament (Lok Sabha) and NDPP & PDA consensuses candidate, Tokheho Yepthomi, said this election was “quite peaceful”.  

Talking to media persons after casting his vote, Tokheho expressed hope that electorate of Nagaland would exercise their franchise and decide the fate of the lone Lok Sabha seat to represent the state of Nagaland.

When asked about his expectation of the poll result, Tokheho said, as per the reports he had collected, the leading margin would be more than last Lok Sabha by-election.

Dr. Shürhozelie laments use of money power: After casting his vote, NPF president Dr. Shürhozelie Liezietsu expressed regret that the whole idea of ‘clean election’ has always been marred by money power.

He said if a Christian like Nagaland remain faithful, then it will not be necessary to educate the public about ‘clean election’.

“This election is very important and crucial in a way but since election is unpredictable and difficult to comment, I don’t want to comment about the future carelessly,” he added.

People have understood BJP’s agenda: Moatoshi

NPF MLA from 2 Dimapur II assembly constituency, Moatoshi Longkumer, exuded confidence that the Congress-NPF coalition would register a “thumping” majority in the constituency if voters’ turnout was normal.

Dwelling on the prevailing socio-political climate in the Northeast, Moatoshi said that the BJP manifesto released barely 48 hours before polling was a direct affront to the indigenous people of Nagaland and the Northeast at large.  “The Uniform Civil Code in BJP’s manifesto is against the cultural and religious practices of the minorities and also people in the Northeast,” he said.

Moatoshi also touched upon the contentious Citizenship Amendment Bill (CAB) and expressed apprehension that if the CAB and UCC were implemented “the rights of the minorities will be gone.”

On the promised development of the NDA, he said, “We do not want development when the cultural rights and religious liberties are compromised.” 

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