A total of 188 candidates, including two women, will contest in the Feb 23 election to the 60-member Nagaland assembly, an eElection Commission official said Saturday.
Nagaland Chief Electoral Officer J. Alam said of the 216 candidates who filed their nominations papers, 27 candidates were found invalid. One Independent candidate withdrew from the electoral battle.
Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio, Home Minister Imkong L. Imchen, Speaker Kiyanilie Peseyie contesting on the Naga People's Front ticket, and opposition leader Tokheho Yepthomi of the Congress are the prominent candidates in the fray.
Rio has exuded confidence that the Naga People's Front government will continue to rule Nagaland for the third consecutive term. The election results will be out Feb 28.
Of the 2,023 polling stations in the state, Alam said 821 have been identified as hypersensitive and 662 as sensitive.
He said 230 additional companies of central paramilitary forces will be deployed to ensure free and fair polls.