All arrangements have been made for simultaneously holding panchayat and municipal elections in Arunachal Pradesh on Tuesday, election officials said. Ballot papers for panchayat constituencies have been collected by respective district officials, while EVMs have been commissioned for elections to Itanagar Municipal Corporation (IMC) and Pasighat Municipality, they said.
A total of 4.89 lakh voters are eligible to exercise their franchise at 1,472 polling stations, State Election Commissioner Hage Kojeen said on Monday. The elections have been delayed by over two years due to various reasons, he said.
Elaborate security arrangements have been made to ensure smooth and peaceful polling. More than 8,000 security personnel, including nine companies of Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF), besides 7,517 state police personnel have been deployed for the elections, a senior police officer said.
As many as 258 polling stations have been identified as hyper-sensitive, and 536 as sensitive, Inspector General of Police (Law and Order) Chukhu Apa said. The state has 25 Zilla Parishads with 241 constituencies and 2,215 gram panchayats with 8,436 constituencies.
The IMC has 20 wards while the Pasighat Municipality has eight. The ruling BJP has already won 96 of the 241 Zilla Parishad Member constituencies unopposed, while election to the Vijoynagar seat in Changlang district will not be held due to the prevailing law and order situation there.
Vijoynagar recently witnessed violent protests over the voting rights of former Assam Rifles personnel. The saffron party has also won 5,410 of the total 8,436 gram panchayat constituencies and five seats in the IMC.
Elections will not be held in the entire Dibang Valley district as all the segments in both Zilla Parishad and gram panchayat have been won by the ruling party unopposed, Kojeen said. East Siang is the only district where elections will be held in all the polling stations, he said.
As many as 110 gram panchayat segments in the state have fallen vacant due to various reasons. The SEC will take a final call on conducting by-elections in those segments after the current electoral process is over, the official said. The state administration has declared a holiday on Tuesday. All government and semi-government offices, banks and commercial establishments, besides educational institutions and markets will remain closed.
Governor Brig (Retd) Dr B D Mishra appealed to the voters to exercise their franchise on Tuesday. "Every single vote has democratic significance and all voters must avail of it. Beyond the constitutional right, it is our moral, social and national responsibility as well to cast our vote," he said.