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Filing of nomination starts today in Meghalaya

Shillong, Jan. 29: Nominations to the February 23 Meghalaya Assembly polls will commence from tomorrow across the state.

The nomination papers will have to be filed in the offices of the returning officers/district election officers or deputy commissioners and also in the offices of the subdivisional officers in the 11 districts.

According to the Election Commission, the formats for filing of affidavits regarding criminal backgrounds, assets, liabilities and education qualification of the candidates have been combined into one format (Form 26) and modified to include a summary sheet.

All candidates must ensure that they file their affidavits in the revised format (Form 26) only.

Candidates can file their nominations till February 6 while scrutiny will take place on February 7.

The last date for withdrawal of candidature is February 9.

Polling will take place on February 23 while counting will be held on February 28.

Political parties which are in the fray include the Congress, Nationalist Congress Party, United Democratic Party, Hill State People’s Democratic Party, National People’s Party, Khun Hynniewtrep National Awakening Movement, Lok Janshakti Party, Samajwadi Party and others, besides a host of Independent candidates.

From tomorrow, general election observers will be in place in all the districts, besides the presence of expenditure observers.

The general observers will be asked to keep tabs on every stage of the electoral process to ensure free and fair polls.

The commission may also deploy police observers to keep a close watch on the law and order situation.

To promote greater transparency and for ease in monitoring election expenses, the Election Commission has provided that candidates would be required to open a separate bank account and debit their election expenses from that very account.

The expenditure ceiling for candidates in this election has been fixed at Rs 8 lakh.

The expenditure observers and assistant expenditure observers will exclusively monitor the election expenditure of the candidates.

In addition to general observers, the commission has said it will also deploy micro-observers to observe the proceedings in select critical polling stations.

They will be chosen from Union government or central public sector unit officials.

Elections to the ninth Legislative Assembly will be held in 60 delimited constituencies — 36 in the Khasi-Jaintia hills and 24 in the Garo hills.

While 55 seats are exclusively reserved for Scheduled Tribe candidates, five are open for all categories.