The northeastern States of Meghalaya and Nagaland went to the polls on Tuesday. Though essentially seen as a Congress versus BJP battle, the spotlight is also on a clutch of regional parties that have often resisted waves in favour of national entities.
Voting began in both States for 59 out of 60 constituencies each.
Here are the live updates:
As of 5 p.m., the polling percentage in Nagaland was 75%
As of 4 p.m., the polling percentage in Nagaland was 68% and Meghalaya 67%. The final turnout figures are expected around 8 p.m.
As of 3 p.m., the polling percentage in Nagaland was 67% and in Meghalaya 43%.
Earlier, Nagaland had recorded 56% despite violence, while Meghalaya progressed slowly to a little under 29%.
By 2 p.m., Meghalaya's voting figure was revised to 34.20%. State CEO Frederick Roy Kharkongor said voting had picked up as there were initial delays due to machine failure and faulty wire connections.
After the initial enthusiasm, Meghalaya trailed behind Nagaland in voters' turnout by 12 noon. While Nagaland clocked 37% polling by 11am, Meghalaya recorded 24.66% by noon. This, poll officials said, was mostly due to EVM disorder.
"The pace of voting slowed a bit to be more than 24% by noon," says Meghalaya's CEO Frederick Roy Kharkongor. Most of the EVMs that faced wiring and other technical problems have been rectified or replaced for voting to resume.
The overall polling percentage stood at 37% in Nagaland at 12 noon. Phugoboto recorded highest with 55%, while Kiphire was lowest at 31%.
There were no reports of violence in Meghalaya.
Akavi N. Zhimomi, AAP candidate for Nagaland's Ghaspani-I seat, alleges voters fraud in his constituency. He says he has alerted the Election Commission that "one man one vote is not being practised in many polling stations", particularly in booths of Kiyezhe B area.
"I have seen with my own eyes," he says.
Violence in Nagaland
One person dies in a clash between BJP and NPF supporters in the Akuluto constituency in Zunheboto district.
Two people were injured in the leg in firing by Indian Reserve Battalion personnel in a bid to quell the warring parties, some of whom were armed.
"Death of one man, reportedly shot in the chest, is confirmed. We have asked the DC and SP of Zunheboto district to provide details," State's additional CEO Moa Aier told The Hindu .
As many as 30 EVMs were found to be problematic in Meghalaya's Garo Hills. However, officials say the machines are fine but the issue is with faulty wiring. "It is being attended," an official says.
About 37 per cent votes were polled in Nagaland by 11am, while Meghalaya polled 21 per cent votes.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi urges the people of Nagaland and Meghalaya to come out and vote in large numbers.
Voting is halted in the Ladigarh polling station due to tension along the Assam-Nagaland border under the Tamlu constituency in Longleng district.
The Assam-Nagaland border areas often have problems due to land dispute.
About 16% voting in the first hour of voting in Meghalaya.
In Nagaland, an average of 11% voting is recorded in the first hour.
At 9:30 am, the voting percentage is 17% and 22% in Nagaland and Meghalaya respectively.
More details emerge on Tizit bombing.
One person is seriously injured due to a blast in the polling booth number 20 in Nagaland's Tizit constituency.
A bottle grenade was thrown at the polling centre by unknown miscreants.
Reports of malfunctioning of EVMs are coming from Meghalaya.
Faulty EVMs make voters stand for long time in St Anthony's School under the Shillong East Constituency.
Voting couldn't be started till 9 a.m. due to a faulty EVM at booth 19 in the Resubelpara constituency under Meghalaya's North Garo Hills district.
EVM malfunctioning are reported from a booth each in the Mawlai and Nongthymmai constituencies covering parts of Shillong.
Another EVM failure is reported from the Kharkutta constituency, at a model all-women polling station.
Nagaland CEO Office tells The Hindu that polling has started in 1,732 of 2,156 booths in the first hour. Report from the other centres are expected soon.
Meghalaya Chief Electoral Officer Frederick Roy Kharkongor tells media: ''Polling has begun in in 2,221 out of 3,025 polling stations in the first hour. It is expected to pick up in the others that are in difficult areas.''
A bomb explosion is reported at a polling station in Tizit assembly constituency.
Moa Aier, Additional Nagaland CEO, says: "We are following up on a blast reported from polling station 20 in Tizit. Casualty, if any, is not confirmed yet."
Polling officials are expecting higher turnout this time in both the States as people start queueing up much before voting started at 7a.m., reports Rahul Karmakar .
A total of 195 candidates are vying for 59 seats in Nagaland, five of them are women.
The newly-floated Nationalist Democratic Progressive Party (NDPP) is the new entrant in Nagaland politics. The party, launched in 2017, has already won a seat uncontested. Neiphiu Rio, former Chief Minister, joined the party only after election dates were announced. He is the chief ministerial candidate of the NDPP-BJP combine.
A total of 361 candidates are in fray in Meghalaya, out of whom just 32 are women. This is a State that has more women electorates than men.
Of the 3,025 booths, the Election Commission has declared 580 as vulnerable booths and 340 as critical onces.
The Kamsing polling station in the Amlarem constituency has the least voters – 29 – and has to be accessed by boat.
In Meghalaya, election for the Williamnagar seat was countermanded after suspected militants killed Nationalist Congress Party candidate Jonathone N Sangma with an improvised explosive device.
In Nagaland, Mr. Neiphiu Rio has won the Northern Angami-II seat unopposed after his only rival, Chupfuo Angami of the ruling Naga People’s Front withdrew from the race.