GUWAHATI: Polling for by-election to Nagaland’s lone Lok Sabha seat and the Ampati Assembly seat in Meghalaya was by and large peaceful except for a stray incident of violence in Nagaland.
According to official sources, Nagaland recorded a voters’ turnout of “around 75 per cent” while it was 90.42 per cent in Ampati.
A mob vandalised a polling station and damaged an electronic voting machine (EVM) at the 13-Kubza polling station, falling under Aolengden Assembly constituency in eastern Nagaland’s Mokokchung district.
The state’s chief electoral officer (CEO), Abhijit Sinha, told The New Indian Express that seven persons had been arrested in connection with the incident.
“Around 1 pm, a mob barged into the polling station by overpowering everyone present there. It broke the EVM machine and vandalised the polling station. Based on reports that I received from the returning officer, seven persons have been arrested by the police. It is most likely that there will be re-polling there,” he said.
The CEO said polling elsewhere was peaceful. “Of course we received some complaints from here and there but there was no other violent incident,” he added.
In Meghalaya, South West Garo Hills deputy commissioner (district magistrate), Hazel Sangma, said “polling was absolutely peaceful”.
“There was no incident of violence. One VVPAT malfunctioned and it was quickly replaced,” the DM said.
The by-election at Ampati was necessitated as former Chief Minister Mukul Sangma vacated the seat. He had won from two seats in the February polls. Ampati saw a triangular contest among Miani D Shira of the Congress, Clement G Momin of the National People’s Party and Subhankar Koch, an Independent. Miani is the daughter of Mukul Sangma.
The by-election in Nagaland was necessitated as sitting MP, Neiphiu Rio, had taken over as Chief Minister in March. The polls were fought between Apok Jamir of the Naga People’s Front and Tokheho Yepthomi of the Nationalist Democratic Progressive Party.