Voters were still lined up at many polling booths across Nagaland at the scheduled end of voting at 4 p.m. as the state recorded a heavy turnout in the assembly elections on Saturday, officials said. Polling was peaceful.
Polling was held for the 59 of the 60 assembly constituencies in Nagaland, with the election to Tuensang Sadar I countermanded after Congress candidate P Chuba Chang died on Friday.
"Voters were seen coming out enthusiastically to polling stations after the polling began at 7 a.m. in most of the polling stations. While only 17.5% polling was recorded till 10 am, the polling percentage went up to over 65% till 2 pm. We have registered over 83% polling till 4 pm," said Nagaland Joint Chief Electoral Officer N Moa Aier said.
"There are still long queues before some of the polling stations and polling officials would have to wait till the last person in the queues cast their votes. So, the final polling percentage is likely to increase further," he said.
In the 2008 assembly polls, the hilly, border state recorded 85% polling, he said.
Nagaland has an electorate of 1,193,438, including 589,505 women.
Aier also said that the election in Nagaland remained one of the most peaceful elections ever.
"While there are reports of some minor problems — minor clashes between various party workers, there is no major incidents reported from anywhere in the state so far," he said.
Polling was interrupted in some polling stations due to technical problems with the EVMs.
"There were reports of technical problems in the EVMs from some polling stations. A total of 30 EVMs in various polling stations had to be replaced due to technical problems in them," he said adding that polling later resumed in those polling stations.
Nagaland Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio exercised his franchise at his native village Touphema in Northern Angami constituency.
Election officials are using 2,600 EVMs to conduct the polls in 2,023 polling stations. A total of 188 candidates, including two women, are in the fray with 49 outgoing legislators seeking re-election.
The ruling Naga People's Front (NPF) has fielded candidates in all 60 seats while the main opposition party Congress has put up candidates in 57 assembly constituencies.
One third of the 60 constituencies will witness straight fights between the NPF and Congress.
The Bharatiya Janata Party, which won two seats in 2008, has fielded 11 candidates. The Nationalist Congress Party, which has two members in the outgoing assembly, has 15 contenders.
According to election officials, over 26,000 security personnel, including 225 companies of central paramilitary forces and police, have been deployed for the polls.