Kohima: Voting is underway to elect 60 members to the 12th Nagaland Assembly from among 188 candidates with an electorate of 11.93 lakh eligible to vote. The polling began early in the morning amidst tight security. The candidates whose fate will be decided are Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio from Northern Angami II, Speaker Kiyanilie Peseyie from Western Angami, Opposition Leader Tokheho Yepthomi from Dimapur III, Congress president SI Jamir from Dimapur II and former Home Minister Imkong L Imchen from Koridang.
There are 39 Independents and two women among the contestants. The ruling Naga People's Front is the only party contesting all the 60 seats. The opposition Congress is contesting 57 seats, followed by NCP in 15, BJP in 11, JD-U in three, RJD in two and the United Nagaland Democratic Party in one.
Of the 2,023 polling stations, 821 have been identified as sensitive and 662 as hyper-sensitive. Altogether 255 companies of central paramilitary forces have been deployed in the state for the elections.
NPF candidate and former Home Minister Imkong L Imchen was arrested on February 18 for allegedly carrying over Rs 1 crore in cash, arms and ammunition and liquor in his vehicle. He resigned subsequently. Earlier on February 16, Rs 1 crore cash was seized from a helicopter allegedly being used by Nyemli Phom, another NPF candidate.