Tripura, Meghalaya and Nagaland will go to polls in February to elect new assemblies, the Election Commission announced on Thursday, setting the stage for the first round of elections in 2018 ahead of the battle in Karnataka and later in Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh.
Announcing the poll schedule, Chief Election Commissioner A.K Joti said while the date of polling in Tripura will be February 18, it will be February 27 in Nagaland and Meghalaya. It will be a single day polling in all the states.
Counting of votes for all the three states, which have 60-member assemblies each, will be done on March 3.
The CPI-M runs the government in Tripura while the Congress rules Meghalaya. The Nagaland People’s Front is in power in Nagaland.
Joti also announced the Model Code of Conduct with immediate effect to provide a level playing field.
He said electronic voting machines and VVPATs (voter verifiable paper audit trail) will be used in all the three states to enhance transparency and credibility of the election process.
Photographs of the candidates will be available on EVM ballot unit for easy identification of candidates. Based on the assessment of ground situation, central armed police forces and state armed police drawn from other states will be deployed to ensure smooth conduct of the polls.
The Election Commission will deploy general observers to keep a close watch on every stage of the electoral process to ensure free and fair elections.
In Tripura, filing of nomination will open on January 24 and the last day for this will be January 31. Scrutiny of nominations will be done on February 1 and the last day for withdrawal is February 3.
In Meghalaya and Nagaland, nominations open on January 31 and close on February 7. Scrutiny will be done on on February 8 and the last day for withdrawals is February 12.