The Election Commission on Friday announced dates for Assembly elections in Tripura, Meghalaya and Nagaland.
In a press conference in the national capital, the Chief Election Commissioner VS Sampath announced that Tripura will go to poll on February 14 and polling in Meghalaya and Nagaland will be held on February 23. The results will be out on February 28.
The EC also announced by-elections to nine Assembly constituencies in Mizoram, Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal and Punjab on February 23 and in Assam, Bihar and Maharashtra on February 24, but their results will be out together on February 28.
Chief Election Commissioner VS Sampath said with the announcement of schedule for the two-phase poll in the North Eastern States and bypolls in various States, the Model Code of Conduct will be in operation with immediate effect and EC will keep a strict vigil on any violation of the Code.
He said electronic voting machines will be used in elections to the three north-eastern States as well as in by-elections in the seven States.
“The Commission will deploy general observers in adequate number to ensure smooth conduct of elections and appoint adequate number of expenditure observers and assistant expenditure observers to exclusively monitor election expenditure of contesting candidates,” the CEC said.
The notification for Tripura elections will be issued on January 21 and for Meghalaya and Nagaland on January 30. All the three State Assemblies have 60 seats each. While 10 are reserved for SCs and 20 for STs in Tripura, 55 Assembly seats are reserved for STs in Meghalaya and 59 in Nagaland.
According to the poll schedule, the last date for filing of nominations in Tripura is January 28 and after scrutiny the next day, the last date for withdrawal of candidatures is January 31.
For Meghalaya and Nagaland, the last date for filing of nominations is February 6 and after scrutiny the next day, the last date for withdrawal is February 9.
Polling in the three north-eastern States will take place from 7 am to 4 pm, while that for by-elections in other States will be held from 8 am to 5 pm.
The tenures of the State Assemblies of Tripura expires on March 16, and in Meghalaya and Nagaland on March 10 and 18 respectively.
The EC will put up 3,018 polling stations in Tripura for 23.52 lakh voters.
In Meghalaya, a total of 2,485 polling stations will be set up for 14,81,473 electors, and another 2,023 in Nagaland where the total number of electors is 11,81,731.
CEC Sampath said the Commission has already visited the three poll-bound States in the North-East and issued strict instructions for conduct of free and fair polls.
The EC in consultation with the Government will deploy adequate central and State forces for smooth conduct of elections, as also micro-observers for keeping a strict vigil on poll proceedings at polling stations. It will also carry out videography of all critical events during electioneering and during the polls, he said.
Announcing the schedule for the by-elections, he said polling in Chalfilh (ST) Assembly constituency in Mizoram, Bhatpar in Uttar Pradesh and three Assembly seats of Nalhati Birbhum, English Bazar and Rejinagar in West Bengal and Moga seat in Punjab will be held on February 23.
Polling in Algapur Assembly constituency in Assam, Kalyanpur (SC) in Bihar and Chandgad in Maharashtra will be held on February 24.
The notification for all bypolls in other States will be issued on January 30 and the last date for making nominations is February 6 and after scrutiny the next day, the last date for withdrawal of candidatures is February 9. Counting for all bypolls will take place on February 28.
The EC directed all candidates to open separate bank accounts and carry out all election expenditure from it and also maintain a record of expenses.
To tackle the phenomenon of paid news, the EC issued instructions to CEOs of the poll-bound States to deal with it strictly.
A three-tier mechanism has been laid out with Media Certification and Monitoring Committees (MCMC) at district, State and ECI levels, he added.
(With inputs from PTI)