Three north-eastern states will have an hour less of voting time than other states in the ensuing Lok Sabha elections.
Nagaland, Manipur and Meghalaya will have nine-hour voting due to early sunrise, sunset and a few other reasons. In the other five states of the region, it will be the normal 10-hour polling.
According to an Election Commission of India (ECI) notification, the voting will start at 7 am and conclude at 4 pm in the three states. In Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Mizoram, Sikkim and Tripura polling will be conducted between 7 am and 5 pm.
Nagaland Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) Abhijit Sinha said early sunrise and sunset were the main reasons for the nine-hour voting. Notably the 7 am to 4 pm polling hours are being followed for many years.
Other reasons, according to Sinha are remoteness of polling stations and mountainous treks.
According to Election Commission notification, issued last month by Sumit Mukherjee, principal secretary to the Election Commission, polling hours will officially end in different states at different times – 4 pm, 5 pm and 6 pm.
The EC sets voting hours after considering security issues like remoteness of polling stations, volume of voters and traditional polling system, among others.
Majority of the Lok Sabha seats will go to polls in the region in the first phase on April 11. Voting will be conducted on two other seats – one each in Tripura and Manipur – in the second phase on April 18.
In the northeast, the day breaks early and sun sets 60-90 minutes ahead of the other regions of the country.