The counting of votes for the Assembly elections in three Northeastern states — Meghalaya, Nagaland and Tripura — will begin at 8 am on Saturday amid tight security, Election Commission officials said.
The BJP has emerged as a strong contender in all the three states and two exit polls have predicted that the party would dethrone the 25-year-old Left Front government in Tripura and consolidate its position in the other two states.
While the Congress has been ruling Meghalaya for 10 years, the Naga People’s Front (NFP) has been in power in Nagaland since 2003, except for a three-month period of President’s rule in 2008.
Buoyed by the formation of governments in Assam, Manipur and Arunachal Pradesh, the BJP is making a bid to expand its footprints in the region.
While Tripura went to the polls on February 18, elections were held in Nagaland and Meghalaya on February 27.
Though the strength of each of the Assemblies in the three states is 60 members, voting was held for 59 constituencies in all of them, for different reasons.
In Nagaland, the BJP has joined hands with the NDPP that was floated by former chief minister Neiphiu Rio. The NDPP is contesting on 40 seats and the saffron party on 20.
The Congress, which has given three chief ministers to Nagaland since the state’s inception in 1963, is contesting only in 18 seats, two less than the BJP.
Votes would be counted in presence of the candidates and agents under the supervision of the respective district returning officers and assistant returning officers, state Additional CEO N Moa Aier said.