Manipur records 78.3% polling amid stray incidents

Imphal, Feb 28 (IANS) Amid stray incidents of violence, Manipur on Monday recorded 78.03 per cent voter turnout in the first phase of Assembly elections in which 38 out of the 60 Assembly seats are being contested, election officials said.
Of the five districts where the first phase of elections were held, highest turnout of 82.19 per cent was recorded in Imphal West and Kangpokpi districts, followed by 76.64 per cent in Imphal East, 74.45 per cent in Churachandpur and 73.44 per cent in Bishnupur district.
The police said that at least one person was injured in a clash between the workers of two rival parties in Churachandpur district.
Clashes were also reported from different parts of Imphal East, Imphal West and Kangpokpi districts, but the security personnel tackled the situation by mobilising additional forces.
Manipur Chief Electoral Officer Rajesh Agrawal said that the final polling percentage would be available after the return of all the polling parties.
He said that incidents of damaging EVMs by unknown miscreants were reported from seven polling stations under five Assembly constituencies — Saikul, Saitu, Singhat, Henglep and Thanlon.
FIRs were registered in all these cases and voting in these polling stations was completed with new sets of EVMs, the CEO said, adding that preventive firing (in the air) by security personnel was reported from some polling stations under Saitu, Henglep and Singhat Assembly constituencies.
The other officials said that there was an incident of firing at Phunal Maring polling station. However, details of the incident are still awaited.
Election officials said that a Manipur police havildar, Naorem Ibochouba Singh, died due to suspected accidental firing from his service weapon in Kakching district.
Meanwhile, Congress and BJP candidates and leaders made allegations and counter-allegations of intimidation and vandalisation of polling booths.
Amid favourable weather, men and women, including young voters, queued up in front of the polling stations in large numbers much before the scheduled voting time of 7 a.m.
Polling continued till 4 p.m. without any break and in a few polling stations, voters were seen in queues even as the official hours ended.
Manipur Governor La Ganesan, Chief Minister N. Biren Singh, Deputy Chief Minister Y. Joykumar, Speaker Y. Khemchand, state Congress President N. Loken were among those who cast their votes in the early hours of polling.
Singh, who is contesting from the Heingang Assembly constituency against Congress nominee Pangeijam Saratchandra Singh, said that the BJP would secure 30-plus seats in the first phase of elections.
Monday’s first phase of polling will decide the fate of 173 candidates, including 15 women contestants.
The aspirants include Chief Minister Singh, his cabinet colleague Thongam Biswajit Singh, NPP candidate and Deputy Chief Minister Yumnam Joykumar Singh, senior BJP leader Thokchom Satyabrata Singh, Congress’ Ratankumar Singh, Lokeshwar Singh, Saratchandra Singh, and sitting party MLA Akoijam Mirabai Devi, among others.
Firebrand woman leader and Janata Dal (United) candidate Thounaojam Brinda, who was the Additional Superintendent of Police (Headquarters), is also contesting from the Yaiskul constituency.
A senior Election Commission official said that there were 10,041 physically challenged electorate (PwD) and 251 centenarian voters in these 38 Assembly constituencies.
The official said that 381 polling stations were fully managed by women polling staff.
The second phase of polling will be held in 22 seats on March 5. Votes will be counted on March 10.

- Advertisement -