The northeastern states of Meghalaya and Nagaland are set to vote today in a multi-cornered contest with the ruling Congress-led government and the opposition BJP-NDPP alliance locking horns. Here are 10 facts about the elections:
1. Meghalaya has a 60-member Assembly and the ruling Congress led by Chief Minister Mukul Sangma is seeking re-election. The BJP-NDPP alliance and the regional parties, such as the UDP, HSPDP and PDF, are the main contenders in the fray.
2. In Nagaland, the ruling Naga People’s Front (NPF) is seeking a fourth consecutive term in the 60-member Assembly. The BJP-NDPP alliance and the newly formed Nagaland Democratic Alliance (NDA) are the main challengers.
3. In Meghalaya, the BJP has fielded candidates in 47 constituencies, while its ally, the National People’s Party (NPP), is contesting in 13 seats. The Congress is contesting in all the 60 constituencies.
4. In Nagaland, the BJP is contesting in 20 seats, while its ally, the NDPP, is fielding candidates in 40 constituencies. The NPF is contesting in all the 60 seats.
5. The Congress has fielded candidates in both the states, but its presence is negligible in Nagaland.
6. In Meghalaya, the BJP is banking on its alliance with the NPP and its development agenda to win the election.
7. In Nagaland, the BJP-NDPP alliance is hoping to make inroads into the NPF’s traditional vote bank.
8. The regional parties in both the states are hoping to make a mark in the elections.
9. Security has been beefed up in both the states to ensure free and fair elections.
10. The results of the Meghalaya and Nagaland elections will be declared on March 3.
The elections in Meghalaya and Nagaland will be a test of the popularity of the ruling parties and the regional parties. It will also be an indicator of the BJP’s electoral prospects in the north-east.