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North-East Assembly Elections: Everything You Need To Know About The Elections In Tripura, Meghalaya, And Nagaland

North-East Assembly elections 2018 will directly affect the 2019 Lok Sabha elections and subsequent government formation

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50.4% registered voters were women (outnumbering men) in the final electoral rolls of the state of Meghalaya. Wikimedia Commons
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Many states are gearing up for the North-East Assembly elections 2018 that are being said to be the defining factor for the future political dynamics of India. Elections dates in the on-going states of Meghalaya, Nagaland, and Tripura were February 18 for Tripura, while the other two states will hold their round of elections on February 27. The elections will be held in two phases, and the results will be announced on March 3.

Many parties are looking forward to extending their political reach in the north-eastern region. North-East Assembly elections 2018 will directly affect the 2019 Lok Sabha elections and subsequent government formation.

ALSO READ: 64% Voters cast their vote in the First phase of UP Elections

north-east assembly elections
EVMs will be installed for the first time. Wikimedia Commons

Here is everything you need to know about the north-east assembly elections 2018:

1. The incumbent assembly tenure in Meghalaya, Nagaland, and Tripura will end on March 6, 13 and 14 respectively. Each of these states has a 60-member assembly.

2. In all the three states, Electronic Voting Machines (EVM) and Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) have been implemented.

3. VVPAT machines are being implemented in Meghalaya for the first time since its formation in 1970. Voters had been using the ballot-paper until now.

4. The Election Commission of India had asked Assam Rifles (India’s oldest paramilitary force) to reinforce the Indo-Myanmar border in Nagaland in order to prevent any form of disturbance before the polls. The state has been suffering insurgent movements and cross-border militant infiltration.

north-east assembly elections
Before EVMs, the Ballot-system was used for the voting process. Wikimedia Commons

5. To increase the participation of women, the Election Commission has installed 60 Pink booths that will be managed by women staff. The booths will be placed in every constituency.

6. 86,890 votes in Meghalaya aged between 18 and 19 years will be exercising their vote for the first time. To encourage these first-time voters, the EC felicitated them on National Voters Day on January 25.

7. The Election Commission will monitor the elections live through webcast and CCTV cameras to ensure a fair and free election.

8.  Around 193 polling booths in Meghalaya will be directly webcasted to the Chief Electoral Officer or District Electoral Officer and Election Commission of India.

ALSO READ: Russia’s Last appeal to US Voters: Russia has no intention of interfering in America’s Presidential Elections

Tripura

  • Ramendra Chandra is the current speaker of the Eleventh Legislative Assembly.
  • Since 1993, the CPI(M) has been in power in the state.
  • While BJP has 7 MLAs in the state assembly and is also the main opposition party.
  • Manik Sarkar, the Chief Minister of Tripura, is a Politburo Member of Communist Party of India (Marxist).
  • He became the Chief Minister for the fourth time after 2013 Assembly Elections.
  • Manik Sarkar is known for his honesty and low monetary resources.

Meghalaya

  • The Meghalaya Legislative Assembly was constituted as a directly elected body in 1972 comprising 60 members.
  • 50.4% registered voters were women (outnumbering men) in the final electoral rolls of the state.
  • With a total population of 3.2 million, Meghalaya has a literacy rate of 74.4%.
  • Unlike Tripura, no one in Meghalaya registered for the third gender option in the final rolls.
  • 597 polling stations have been increased from 2,485 in 2013 to 3,082 in 2018. It’s an increase of about 24%.
north-east assembly elections
The Election Commission of India has set 60 Pink Booths. Wikimedia Commons

Nagaland

  • On 1 December 1963, Nagaland became a state of India. Also, the first Nagaland Legislative Assembly was formed on 11 February 1964.
  • The strength of the state assembly was increased to 60 members in 1974.
  • Home Minister Rajnath Singh said the assembly election in the state will be held on schedule amidst a demand by the state’s civil society groups for deferring the polls to facilitate a solution to the vexed Naga insurgency issue.
  • The expectations for a lasting peace have soared in Nagaland, which had been hit by insurgency for decades after the Centre and the NSCN-IM signed a framework agreement in 2015.
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BJP Offers Christians a Pilgrimage to Jerusalem. Is Religious Pilgrimage A New Playground For The Political Parties?

This would not be the first time that India has bankrolled pilgrimages for the Christians. Before this, the government had subsidized the Haj pilgrimage for the Muslim community

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In a country like India, such miscalculated steps could backfire in form of communal rights and the results could be unprecedented. Wikimedia Commons
In a country like India, such miscalculated steps could backfire in form of communal rights and the results could be unprecedented. Wikimedia Commons
  • The political parties (BJP and Congress ) are promising a free trip to Jerusalem for the pilgrimage in the coming local elections of the eastern states of India
  • The Christian population in Meghalaya and Nagaland is almost 75 percent and 88 percent respectively
  • After the Supreme Court’s intervention, the government had drafted the policy to abolish the Haj subsidy in a phased manner by 2022

The Campaign promises during the elections times are quite bizarre nowadays, from “I’ll cut your taxes,” to “vote for me, and I’ll set you free.”

In the coming local elections in the Christian- majority state of Nagaland in India the agenda by the rival BJP (Bharatiya Janata Party) and Congress parties are unique: “Vote for us and get either a free or a heavily subsidized pilgrimage to Jerusalem.”

Yes, you read it right. The political parties are promising a free trip to Jerusalem for the pilgrimage. The offer has been put up by the Prime Minister Modi- led BJP for the upcoming elections. Even the local partners of the Congress party are treading up the same path.

Recently, the central government decided to withdraw subsidy given to hundreds and thousands of Muslims for the annual Haj pilgrimage. Wikimedia Commons
Recently, the central government decided to withdraw subsidy given to hundreds and thousands of Muslims for the annual Haj pilgrimage. Wikimedia Commons

The BJP has not made it clear yet if it is offering the scheme to all of India’s Christians, or only to Christians in the northeast, or only to Christians in Nagaland. The Christian population in Meghalaya and Nagaland is almost 75 percent and 88 percent respectively. Nagaland is one of smallest states of India, with the population of just under two million people.

Also Read: Muslim women can now travel for Haj without Mahram

As per the Tourism Ministry figures, around 58,000 Indian tourists came to Israel in 2017, a 47% increase from 2015.

The elections are scheduled for the February 27 in three northeastern states – Meghalaya, Nagaland and Tripura – later this month.

The AIMIM leader Asaduddin Owaisi also tweeted on the double standard of the government and lashed out at the government for its discriminatory decision, ending Haj subsidy but allowing subsidies to continue for Hindu pilgrimages like the Mansarovar Yatra.

This would not be the first time that India has bankrolled pilgrimages for the Christians. Before this, the government had subsidized the Haj pilgrimage for the Muslim community. But recently, the central government decided to withdraw subsidy given to hundreds and thousands of Muslims for the annual Haj pilgrimage. The government cited the reason for the subsidy withdrawal as they wanted to utilise the funds saved from withdrawing the subsidy for the education of minorities, particularly girls. After the Supreme Court’s intervention, the government had drafted the policy to abolish the Haj subsidy in a phased manner by 2022.

Also Read: Government ends Haj subsidy as part of a new policy

The scheme is a clear cut example of hypocrisy and opportunism, especially considering the cancellation of Haj subsidies. It seems quite contrary, on the one hand, the government is cutting down the benefit scheme for one section of the society and on the other hand, some other community is been offered the same thing. Such moves bring out the double standards of the political parties just for the sake of vote bank. In a country like India, such miscalculated steps could backfire in form of communal rights and the results could be unprecedented.

In 2011, Nigeria also did something same as that of India. For many years, their government financed a trip to Mecca for Muslims, leading to some 42,000 Nigerians visiting the country. But with the change in the government, subsidies have been cut considerably and now a 12-day pilgrimage costs around 2000 dollars. The change in stance has resulted in 78% decrease from 2011.