Agartala, Jan 24 (IANS) The statutory notifications for the February 18 elections to the 60-member Tripura Assembly were issued on Wednesday, an official here said.
"Tripura Chief Secretary, on behalf of the state Governor, Election Commission and all Returning Officers, has issued three separate notifications to constitute a new assembly and inviting candidates to file their nominations," a Tripura Election Department official said.
According to the schedule of the elections, announced by the poll panel on January 18, the last date for submission of nominations would be January 31, scrutiny of nominations would be done the next day and the last date of withdrawal of nominations would be February 3.
"The nomination papers cannot be submitted on the holidays declared under the Negotiable Instruments Act of 1881. In-between January 24 and January 31, there are three holidays (Republic Day, fourth Saturday and Sunday) and the remaining five days are working days," the official added.
The EC in New Delhi on January 18 announced the single-phase assembly polls on February 18 in Tripura, and in Nagaland and Meghalaya on February 27. Counting of votes for all the three northeastern states, which have 60-seat assemblies each, will be done on March 3.
The Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M)-led Left Front rules Tripura, while it is the Congress in Meghalaya. The Nagaland People's Front-led Democratic Alliance of Nagaland (DAN) is in power in Nagaland. The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is also a DAN ally.
The five-year term of the Meghalaya, Nagaland and Tripura assemblies would expire on March 6, 13 and 14, respectively.
Earlier, former Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) A.K. Joti had visited all the three northeastern states, reviewed the poll preparedness and also asked the state officials to ensure conducive law and order situation for smooth conduct of the elections.
A poll panel team led by Deputy Election Commissioner Sudeep Jain also visited the three states several times for an on-the-spot review of the election preparedness.
The Election Commission has appointed 25 general observers, eight police observers and 19 expenditure observers to oversee the poll process in Tripura.
"The general and police observers would come to the state on January 31 and the expenditure observers have already started arriving in Tripura," the official added.
In Tripura, the CPI-M-led Left Front on Tuesday announced the names of their candidates keeping both old and new faces, with seven of the nominees being women. There are 12 new candidates in the Left Front list, while five sitting CPI-M legislators were dropped on grounds of health and organisational reasons.
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is likely to announce their candidates on Saturday.
"BJP parliamentary board meeting would be held in New Delhi after Prime Minister Narendra Modi returns from the World Economic Forum meeting in Davos (Switzerland). The meeting would finalise the candidates for the three election-bound northeastern states," Tripura BJP chief Biplab Kumar Deb told IANS.
Opposition Congress leaders are likely to announce their candidates this weekend or early next week.
"The scrutiny committee meeting of the Congress led by All India Congress Committee General Secretary C.P. Joshi would be held in Guwahati on Wednesday. Then their recommendations would be submitted to the Congress Parliamentary Board headed by party president Rahul Gandhi," Tripura Congress vice president Tapas Dey said.