First phase of ADC poll held amid boycott
Three polling personnel kidnapped; truck set on fire
Source: Hueiyen News Service

Imphal, May 26 2010: The first phase poll of the Manipur (Hill) Districts Councils which comes after 20 year of gap witnessed today with by and large peaceful, with no major incidents but isolated incidents of booth capturing at some places.

Meanwhile, a truck (MN-01-6908) carrying ballot boxes after the polling was over was reportedly set on fire by unidentified persons at Chumonphai in Churachandpur district around 6 pm today.

Among other poll related incidents, three polling personnel including the presiding officer of a polling station at Tokpa Kabui village under Leimatak constituency of Churachandpur district were kidnapped by some armed suspected undergrounds before the polling commenced.

They along with polling materials were kidnapped by suspected activists of the underground outfit last midnight from polling station where they were assigned, reports said.

Burning of polling material following confrontation among the candidates reported at Henglep, Phaibok, Songtong, Khakti, Songpho and Laphou constituencies.

The polling was conducted to decide the faith of 134 candidates contesting in 39 ADC constituencies out of total 72 constituencies in all the three ADCs, Chandel, Churachandpur and Sadar Hills of Senapati district.

Lone candidates in the rest 33 constituencies had been declared elected uncontested.

Overall voter turn out percentage could not be available with the state election commission in Imphal but unofficially overall 90 percent turn out recorded in Churachandpur and 77 in Sadar Hills ADC where there witnessed any sort of boycott to the elections.

Large turn out of voters in some polling stations nearby the Chandel district headquarters recorded.

In some stations the voter turn out percentage was recorded above 80 while in some stations no voters turned out or few voters used their franchise.

In one polling station Lambung polling station of Chandel district only three voters turn up to cast vote.

It was reported that other voters failed to turn out as they were threatened to kill if come out to cast vote by an underground group operating actively in the area.

An elector who abstains from casting vote today said that he was willing to go for casting but he cannot decide on which side he would stand as some warned them not to participate in the election even as candidates in the fray urged them to cast in their favours.

The polling in Chandel district was held at 60 polling stations extending over 12 constituencies amidst 48-hour bandh imposed by a joint body of the Naga based civil societies as part of boycotting the elections.

Meanwhile, some 10 to 15 persons hired by Congress candidate had reportedly rigged the polls at two polling stations in 10-Aihang constituency in Chandel district.

The two polling stations are 10/2 New Chayang polling station and 10/5 Purum Pantha polling station.

Under 10/2 New Chayang polling station, there are 964 voters.

However, a group of hired people had cast around 300 votes in favour of Congress candidate T Ringo last night itself in connivance with the Presiding Officer, an Independent candidate alleged.

The rest of the votes were cast today by the same hired group.

The Presiding Officer Ch Kullachandra sealed the ballot box at 2 pm saying that all the votes had already been cast.

But two Independent candidates and one RJD candidate strongly complained to the Presiding Officer against his action.

The Presiding Officer agreed to recommend to the state election authority to conduct re-poll in the polling station, the Independent candidate informed this newspaper.

Similarly in 10/5 Purum Pantha polling station, a group of people had cast all votes in proxy in favour of the Congress candidate, T Ringo.

The Independent candidates were also not allowed to cast their own votes by the hired gang of the Congress candidate, an Independent candidate alleged.

He also alleged that even NSCN-IM had colluded with the Congress candidate.

As a result the NSCN-IM cadres who were assigned to stop the polling process had disappeared from the area and gave the Congress candidate a free hand to rig the polling, the candidate charged.

The two Ind candidates and one RJD candidate have demanded re-poll in the said two polling stations.

However, large turn out of voters in Kuki inhabitant areas of the district recorded.

In most of the ADC constituencies, poll percentage recorded above 60 percent, a police officer on election security duty in the district said.

No voter turned out to cast votes in the Naga inhabitant areas of Sadar hill.

Official on poll duty returned back before the poll hour concluded as no voter turned out in as many as five polling stations in Kangpokpi area close to Senapati district headquarters.

Amidst the boycott, two candidates in different ADC constituencies in Chandel district have lodged complaint with the state election commission to conduct re-poll in some polling stations in their constituencies alleging that rival candidates have done mass proxy voting in the stations.

The first phase polling of the Autonomous District Council (ADC) was held in Churachandpur, Chandel and Sadar hill to decide faiths of 134 candidates in the fray in 39 ADC constituencies.

The polling hour was from 7 am to 3.30 pm.

In Chandel district, opposing the elections, 48-hour district bandh was imposed by the Chandel Civil Society Coordination even though there were no reports of boycotting the elections in Churachandpur district and Sadar Hills of Senapati district.

Out of the 39 constituencies, 15 are in Churachandpur district in which 53 candidates are in the fray.

Forty candidates are in the fray for 12 constituencies in Chandel district while 41 candidates are in the fray in 12 ADC constituencies in Sadar Hills.

Mention may be made that out of 33 candidates declared uncontested out of the 32 are Congress and the rest one RJD candidate.