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Over 2.76 lakh voters to decide fate of 523 candidates in Nagaland ULB election


KOHIMA, JUNE 20: State Election Commissioner (SEC) T John Longkumer today informed that over 2.7 lakh voters would be exercising their franchise on June 26 to decide the fate of 523 candidates contesting urban local bodies (ULBs) elections in Nagaland.
Addressing a press conference here today, he expressed confidence that in all 670 nominations were received of which 4 were rejected after scrutiny, 79 withdrew and 64 candidates have been elected unopposed.
With no candidates contesting in the Town Councils of Eastern Nagaland areas, he said currently 523 candidates are in fray while 2,76,229 voters will decide their fate.
Of the total electors, 1,36,062 are male and 1,40,167 female.
Voting will commence at 7:30 a.m. and conclude at 4 p.m. on June 26, he said.
He also informed that 48 hours ahead of the elections, no public gatherings will be allowed and this will be enforced by the police and civil administration.
The security of the ULB elections will be entirely controlled by the Nagaland police, he said.
On non-Naga indigenous people contesting the election, Longkumer affirmed that while there is no written complaint, the Commission decided that the matter needs to be dealt with by the State Government. “We took suo moto cognizance in the matter as there were concerns expressed by the general public”, he said.
On the allegations of Congress candidate in Dimapur forced to withdraw nomination by sitting BJP MLA Tovihoto Ayemi, Longkumer said that the Commission received a formal complaint and has written to the Deputy Commissioner and Returning Officer, Dimapur, and further response is awaited.
Meanwhile, the SEC while expressing that ULB elections are going to be held after 20 long years in the State, maintained that all issues be it traditional, customary or political have been resolved amicably among all stakeholders and now the Northeast and entire country is looking upon the State very closely beside the legal eyes of the Supreme Court.
He appealed for calm for an atmosphere of free and fair elections and above all to believe in the process of law and abjure all forms of violence.
Longkumer expressed confidence that the State would complete the ULB elections as per schedule in a peaceful manner.
He also congratulated the unopposed candidate and also wished best of luck to the 523 candidates.
State Nodal Officer (Administration) L Jamithung Lotha said that considering the overall scenario of the districts, the State Government and SEC is trying to ensure incident free and peaceful elections.
Asked as to why the SEC has gone back to ballot paper instead of EVMs for the polls, Lotha said that the State could not get the permission of Election Commission of India to use the EVMs.
SEC Longkumer supplementing him informed that the State has shortage of ballot boxes and have been helped by Arunachal Pradesh Government.
State Police Nodal Officer for SEC Limasunep Jamir said altogether 10 districts are going to polls with 278 wards. There are 530 polling stations categorized into 92 normal, 209 sensitive and 229 as hyper-sensitive based on various parameters, he said.
He said that 108 companies of State security forces including 41 coys of District Executive Force (DEFs), 29 of Nagaland Armed Police and 38 of Indian Reserve Battalion totaling to 8100 personnel will be utilized to thwart any form of violence during the poll.
“We will take all measures within the law to ensure that there is no breakdown of law or no one vitiates the peaceful atmosphere in the State”, he asserted, while expressing confidence that the ULB polls will be peaceful.
SEC Secretary Wonchio Odyuo said that all preparations are done and training completed and detailing of polling personnel set.
SEC Under-Secretary Tsutsowe Kupa informed that as per the Nagaland Municipal Act, any indigenous inhabitant of the State is eligible to contest the ULB election.
He also said that there has been guideline on the expenditure ceiling of the candidates.
(Page News Service)