Hundreds rally for free and fair polls at Chandel
Source: The Sangai Express

Imphal, February 19: Protesting what they termed as �double standard� in the mode of selection of its �consensus candidates� by the United Naga Council (UNC), hundreds of womenfolk staged a peace rally at Chandel district headquarters today.

The womenfolk were demanding free and fair conduct of the polls during the third phase election to the two Assembly segments of the district on February 23.

Women folk staging a peace rally at Chandel to demand free and fair polling in the face of the diktats imposed by UNC

Chandel district will go to the polls along with Tamenglong and Churachandpur districts and Jiribam sub-divisions during the third and final phase of the 9th Manipur Legislative Assembly election on February 23.Leaders of Anal Sinnu Ruwi (Anal Women�s Association), who organised the rally said UNC had on January 19 declared L Benjamin as its consensus independent candidate and subsequently people started campaigning for him.

But the UNC had on January 29 rejected Benjamin�s candidature and recommended Francis Huten as its chosen candidate, thereby creating confusion among the people, they said.

�Now the people are strongly against the double standard stand of the UNC and the protest rally is being taken out to ring out this message to UNC�, they explained, while informing that some people at the instigation of UNC have been issuing threats to the people.

They also appealed to all concerned to maintain peace and allow every voters in the two ACs of Chandel disttrict to exercise their democratic rights in accordance to their choice.

� Now we want a free and fair conduct of the polls without any threat or intimidation from any quarters and that the people should decide themselves to choose their best candidate��, said RD Samery, president of the Association.

While KL Khunghlung Anal, 68, a supporter of Benjamin, reacted that other candidates should respect their rivals and that they should not use any kind of muscle powers against the voters, TS Shangmani, 54 expressed her feelings to allow all electorates to enjoy their democratic rights without any restrictions from any organizations.

Placards reading � Stop suppressing our right to vote�, � Where is our liberty of choice�, � Give us chance to select our leader�, � My vote, my rights�, �Stop imposing against our rights�, etc were held by the rallyists during the peace rally which began from Chandel Christian village and marched towards the district headquarters road to submit a memorandum to the Deputy Commissioner/ Returning Officer in this connection.

The memorandum demanded free and fair conduct of the polls and take all out possible measures to safeguard the people while exercising their democratic rights.