"Election Commission on Thursday will announce the Assembly poll dates for the three northeastern states " Meghalaya, Tripura and Nagaland. The polling will be held in the first phase on February 18, whereas the counting will be held on March 3.
Chief Election Commissioner A K Joti said the counting in the three states will be held on March 3.
Adding to this official said, "One of the reasons is that for the last few years, the model code of conduct has been brought into effect with the EC announcing the dates".
Assemblies in Meghalaya, Nagaland and Tripura are set to expire on 6, 13 and 14 March respectively. "The three Assemblies have 60 members each", Joti said. The party had won across both the states assembly election with a full majority. Sarma, once a protégé of former Assam chief minister Tarun Gogoi, joined the BJP in 2015 after publicly expressing his contempt for the Congress central leadership, especially Rahul Gandhi.
Although Chief Minister Mukul Sangma had brought more stability for the party, the BJP is now looking to take over Meghalaya using the development plank.
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BJP leaders have been visiting the north-east in recent times to firm up election plans.
The Communist Party of India (Marxist) (CPI [M]) has a strong foothold in Tripura and is in power for the past 25 years.
Here the Christian community, which forms over 70% of the state's population, is apprehensive about the BJP due to the attack on minorities in other parts of the country, in particular the attack on carol singers in Madhya Pradesh and the violence by cow vigilantes across India.
In Meghalaya, the Congress has been in power since 2006, interrupted for a year when the United Democratic Party was in power followed by a short spell of President's Rule.
Parties other than the BJP too are gearing up to fight the 2018 Assembly polls in Meghalaya. Whereas the Congress is nonetheless than from BJP, they are also planning and making strategies for the stronghold.