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Voters out in large numbers in Nagaland

 Kohima, Feb 23 (IANS): Voters came out in large numbers on Saturday to cast their ballots for elections to the 60-member Nagaland Assembly, an official said.

In the 2008 assembly polls, the hilly, border State recorded 85 percent polling, he said.

"Voting is continuing in a peaceful manner across the state," he said.

"Polling is in full swing in almost all polling stations. All electronic voting machines (EVMs) are working properly and there are no reports of any incident from anywhere," state's Joint Chief Electoral Officer N Moa Aier told IANS.

People turned up in large numbers to exercise their franchise when ballotting began at 7 am officials said. Nagaland has 1,193,438 electorates, including 589,505 women.

Election officials are using 2,600 EVMs to conduct the polls in 2,023 polling stations. A total of 188 candidates, including two women, are in the fray with 49 outgoing legislators seeking re-election.

The ruling Naga People's Front (NPF) has fielded candidates in all 60 seats while the main opposition party Congress has put up candidates in 57 assembly constituencies.

One third of the 60 constituencies will witness straight fights between the NPF and Congress.

The BJP, which won two seats in 2008, has fielded 11 candidates. The Nationalist Congress Party, which has two members in the outgoing assembly, has 15 contenders.

According to election officials, over 26,000 security personnel, including 225 companies of central paramilitary forces and police, have been deployed for the polls.

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