TODAY -

Sporadic violence, voting delay mar first phase polling
Source: Chronicle News Service

Imphal, February 28 2022: Regardless of the election-conducting authorities making elaborate arrangements to ensure peaceful conduct of the first phase electioris to the 12th Manipur Legislative Assembly held on Monday in 38 assembly constituencies spread across five districts, stray incidents of violence have been reported from different part of the state.

Barring few instances of technical issues and late reporting by polling agents in some constituencies, voting officially began at 7 am in 1721 polling stations in five districts amid tight security.

A total of 173 candidates, including 15 women, are in the fray in the first phase.

At least one person was injured in a clash between two parties in Churachan-dpur district.

An EVM was damaged, and' it was later replaced.

Congress workers allegedly vandalised a BJP polling booth in Kakwa area in Langthabal constituency in Imphal West district, while a vehicle of an NPP candidate was damaged by supporters of a rival group in Keirao seat, although nobody was injured in the incident.

In a clash between BJP and NPP workers at Khurai Heikrumakhong in Khurai assembly constituency a vehicle of a BJP worker was vandalised.

Sources said that workers of NPP candidate Laitonjam Jayananda stopped some BJP supporters from reaching a polling station.

Consequently, an outer agent of BJP candidate MLA L Susindro confronted the NPP workers and it resulted in a clash between the two sides during which NPP workers vandalised the BJP agent's Creta car (MN-6LA 7176), sources added.

In other election-related incidents, clashes broke out between supporters of BJP and JDU over proxy voting around 1:30 pm at polling station number 15/13, RK Sanatombi Devi Vidyalaya, North AOC under Wangkhei AC.

As per reports, skirmishes between the workers started after JDU workers alleged that proxy voting was happening at the polling station in favour of the BJP candidate.

BJP candidate Okram Henry and JDU's Thangjam Arun arrived at the spot to monitor the situation.

Later, after a meeting with the polling station's sectorial officer and presiding officer, JDU submitted an application for conduct of re-poll in the said polling station.

After which, the polling resumed.

The said polling station has 457 voters and at the time of incident 321 voters had cast their votes.

The rest of the electors cast their votes after polling process restarted at 2:30 pm.

Another ruckus ensued at polling station number 13/19, New Age Club at Singjamei Thongam Leikai under Singjamei AC due to miscommunication.

Polling personnel of the said polling station distributed tokens to the voters waiting in queue to allow them to vote after official timing period ended at 4 pm.

At that time, many voters who did not receive the tokens agitated.

On receiving the news, all the four candidates in the AC rushed to the spot along with their supporters.

However, after an agreement was reached with the presiding officers and the candidates, the matter was resolved.

Voters initially waited patiently for their turn in chalk-marked circles by maintaining social distancing.

However, with the sun rising over their heads, many sought shelter in the shade, while waiting for their turn to cast their votes.

In some polling booths, including the one at Soibam Leikai in Imphal East district, first-time voters were felicitated by election officials.

Victor Th, a 20-year-old first-time voter, said: "I hope my vote will make a difference in choosing an able representative of my Keishamthong constituency, one who can focus on development and address social issues".

Of the 38 seats, 10 constituencies are in Imphal East, 13 in Imphal West, six each in Bishnupur and Churachandpur, and three in Kangpokpi district.

Nine seats are reserved for Scheduled Tribes and one for Scheduled Castes.

All-woman personnel supervised the voting process in 381 polling stations while PwD personnel manned a polling station in Saikot assembly seat in Churachandpur.

The BJP has fielded candidates in all the 38 seats, followed by Congress with 35 contestants, NPP with 27, JD (U) with 28, Shiv Sena with seven, RPI (Athawale) with six, UP (Ram Vilas) with three, and Kuki National Assembly and Kuki People's Alliance with two each.

Eighteen Independents are also in the fray.


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