Ballot train to commence tomorrow- First halt at the North East
By  Shimon Chadha | Updated:  Apr 10, 2019, 05:00 PM
Of the 91 Lok Sabha constituencies conducting the 17th Lok Sabha elections in the first phase, 16 constituencies are from the North-East. 6 out of 8 states will hold polling in only one phase, i.e. on April 11. Assam, with the maximum number of 14 seats, will witness polling in three phases, from April 11 to April 23, and Manipur, with its 2 constituencies will conduct polls in two phases from April 11 to April 18.
Arunachal Pradesh, which will conduct polls for its two Lok Sabha constituencies as well as 60 Assembly seats simultaneously, will witness a tough contest between the regional as well as national parties. Congress considers both the parliamentary constituencies its strongholds, but is due to face a tough fight from not only the BJP but also from the JD(S), NPP and PPA. The state also has the highest polling station of Lugathang at 13,583 ft.
In the two seats of Meghalaya, the current ruling National People’s Party will face stiff competition from the BJP and the Congress. The oldest political party in the country, the Congress, has achieved much success in the state in the past.
In the lone seat of Sikkim, BJP had initially formed an alliance with its opposition in the state assembly, the ruling Sikkim Democratic Front, but SDF, which has been in power in the state for five terms, later decided to fight alone. Former footballer Bhaichung Bhutia has also launched his new party Hamro Sikkim Party. Other parties such as the NPP are also contesting for the seat.
Tripura, which has had a member of the BJP become Chief Minister of the state for the first time, in 2018, had the CPI(M) winning both the parliamentary seats in the 2014 elections. The IPFT, which had allied with the BJP five years ago, has decided to contest alone this time. Congress failed to win a single seat in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections as well as the state assembly elections in 2018.
The single seat of Mizoram will be a triangular fight between the ruling Mizo National Front, the BJP, and the alliance between Congress and the Zoram People’s Movement. The state has usually alternated between the MNF and the Congress, but the right-wing BJP has never been a strong contender in the Christian dominated state. The BJP, after winning an Assembly seat in the state for the first time, in 2018, has decided to field former Congress leader, Nirupam Chakma, who joined the saffron party in 2015.
Nagaland, with its single seat, will witness competition between the Congress and the alliance between the BJP and the Naga People’s Front.
Counting of votes will be done on May 23.
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