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Published: Fri, January 19, 2018
Global Media | By Abel Hampton

Tripura votes on Feb 18; Meghalaya, Nagaland polls on Feb 27

Tripura votes on Feb 18; Meghalaya, Nagaland polls on Feb 27

Polling for the Tripura state assembly will be held on February 18.

Tripura will vote to elect a new Assembly on February 18, while neighbouring Nagaland and Meghalaya will go to the polls on February 27, the Election Commission announced on Thursday. "Electronic Voting Machines (EVM) and voter-verified paper audit trail (VVPAT) will be used in all three states, first level checks have been completed".

In Meghalaya, the Congress has been in power since 2006, interrupted for a year when the United Democratic Party was in power followed by a short spell of President's Rule. It has its own government in Assam and Manipur, while in Nagaland, Arunachal Pradesh, and Sikkim, it is coalition partner with regional parties.

But given the BJP's Hindutva image, the NPP is keeping its distance as polls near. "Let us get good feedback", he said. Led by Mukul Sangma, the Congress recently faced a setback when five of its legislators, including former deputy chief minister Rowell Lyngdoh, resigned from the Assembly.

On the ground, the ruling party faces real challenge from BJP in the plains and Indigenous Peoples Front of Tripura (IPFT), a tribal outfit, in the hills. The BJP backs the NPF. The BJP has seven MLAs while the Congress has two lawmakers in the state. Chief minister TR Zeliang heads one faction, his predecessor Shurhozelie Liezietsu and Nagaland's lone Lok Sabha member Neiphiu Rio, the other two.

"The Congress will be voted to power again as it is the only party that can provide a pro-people government", he said.

If IPFT joins hands with the BJP, it could emerge as a serious challenger to the Left Front government. The Left Front has been ruling Tripura for the past 24 years, media reports said.

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which did not win even a single seat in the last polls, has been working hard to overthrow the CPI (M) rule this time.

The incumbent Chief Minister Manik Sarkar is at the helm for the past 19 years.

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