Manipur Assembly polls: 1 killed in Manipur Plus poll violence, 11% voter turnout as of 9am: The Tribune India


Imphal, March 5

One person was killed after security forces opened fire when violence erupted during voting in Manipur’s Karong constituency on Saturday.

Manipur votes to choose from 92 candidates in 22 constituencies spread across 10 districts.

A turnout of around 11.40 percent was recorded up to 9 a.m. Saturday in the second and final phase of Manipur Assembly polls conducted in 22 of the 60 tightly-secured constituencies, officials said. election officials.

Men, women and first-time voters in large numbers lined up outside polling stations well before polling began at 7 a.m. in six constituencies.

Election officials said no untoward incidents have been reported so far in any of the 22 constituencies, where polling is proceeding smoothly. Voting will continue until 4 p.m. without interruption.

According to officials, more than 20,000 troops from the central paramilitary force were deployed in the second phase to Thoubal, Jiribam, Chandel, Ukhrul, Senapati and Tamenglong districts for the poll.

While Thoubal district is in the valley, the other five constituencies are in the mountainous areas bordering Assam and Nagaland, as well as Myanmar, requiring security forces to maintain maximum vigilance along international and interstate borders.

Manipur Chief Electoral Officer Rajesh Agrawal said 4,988 poll workers were stationed at 1,247 polling stations across the six constituencies to conduct the poll.

He said that a total of 8,38,730 voters, including 4,28,679 women and 31 transgenders, are eligible to exercise their right to vote in the second phase to decide the electoral fate of 92 candidates, including two women.

Of the 92 candidates, 17 have criminal histories, the election official said.

The CEO said that as with the first phase of the February 28 elections, adequate arrangements were made at all polling stations to ensure Covid election security. All polling stations have been disinfected, while workers from Asha and Anganwadi have been hired. The marking of circles with a minimum distance was done to avoid crowding.

In addition, masks, gloves, face shields, thermal scanners and PPE kits were provided to electoral parties. Voters positive for Covid or in quarantine will be allowed to vote at the last hour between 3 p.m. and 4 p.m.

To enable women to participate vigorously in the electoral process, 223 of the polling stations are fully occupied by all female poll workers, Agrawal said.

Meanwhile, a re-vote is also taking place on Saturday at 12 polling stations across the five Assembly constituencies in two districts – Imphal East and Churachandpur.

The CEO said the re-voting is underway as disbelievers damaged electronic voting machines during and after the first phase of the February 28 poll.

Saturday’s elections would settle the electoral fortunes of three-time chief minister (2002-2017) and 74-year veteran Congress leader Okram Ibobi Singh, as well as several BJP ministers and sitting MPs.

Singh contests from the seat of Thoubal Assembly and is locked in a four-cornered contest against Leitanthem Basanta Singh of BJP, Irom Chaoba Singh of Janata Dal-United and Konsam Michael Singh of Shiv Sena.

The main opposition Congress has failed to field candidates for four of the assembly’s 22 seats — Chandel, Mao, Tadubi, Tamenglong — and political pundits say the four-seat Congress supports tacitly candidates from the National People’s Party (NPP), led by Chief Minister of Meghalaya Conrad K. Sangma, which has been a BJP ally in Meghalaya and Manipur since 2017 but is contesting separately in Manipur this time.

The BJP won 21 seats in 2017 and came to power in the state for the first time, after forming a coalition government, with various parties including the NPP and the Naga People’s Front (NPF). However, this time all three are arguing separately and pitting candidates against each other.

The Congress, which ruled the state for 15 consecutive years until 2017, had formed a Progressive Secular Alliance of Manipur after forging a pre-election alliance with four leftist parties and Janata Dal-Secular.

The first phase of voting was held in 38 seats on February 28, when 88.63% of 12,09,439 voters exercised their right to vote.

The votes will be counted on March 10.

IANS

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