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Model Code of Conduct comes into effect in Manipur immediately: CEO, Manipur

An adequate number of General Observers, Police Observers and Expenditure Observers and are proposed to be deployed across the State. The contact details of Observers will be made available once communicated by ECI.

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Imphal: The Election Commission of India has announced the schedule for 12th General Elections to the Manipur Legislative Assembly. The Chief Electoral Officer (CEO), Manipur Rajesh Agrawal informed that with the announcement of the Election Schedule by the Election Commission of India, the Model Code of Conduct comes into effect immediately and will be applicable across the State.

Rajesh Agrawal was addressing the media at a press conference held Saturday at the office of the CEO, Manipur, Lamphelpat. All intending candidates, political parties, the State and the Union Governments and all stakeholders are, therefore, urged to comply strictly with the Model Code of Conduct with immediate effect till the election process is completed, he directed.

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The schedule for the General Elections is as under:

Sl. No.Poll EventFirst PhaseSecond Phase
1.       Issue of Notification01.02.2022 (Tuesday)  04.02.2022 (Friday) 
2.       Last date of making Nominations08.02.2022 (Tuesday)11.02.2022 (Friday)
3.       Scrutiny of Nominations09.02.2022 (Wednesday)14.02.2022 (Monday)
4.       Last date for withdrawal of Candidature11.02.2022 (Friday)16.02.2022 (Wednesday)
5.       Date of Poll27.02.2022 (Sunday)03.03.2022 (Thursday)
6.       Counting of Votes10.03.2022 (Thursday)
7.       Date before which the election process shall be completed12.03.2022 (Saturday)

In the First Phase, Assembly Constituencies going for polls are 1-Khundrakpam, 2-Heingang, 3-Khurai, 4-Khetrigao, 5-Thongju, 6-Keirao, 7-Andro, 8-Lamlai, 9-Thangmeiband, 10-Uripok, 11-Sagolband, 12-Keisamthong, 13-Singjamei, 14-Yaiskul, 15 Wangkhei, 16-Sekmai (SC), 17-Lamsang, 18-Konthoujam, 19-Patsoi, 20-Langthabal, 21- Naoria Pakhanglakpa, 22-Wangoi, 23-Mayang Imphal, 24-Nambol, 25-Oinam, 26-Bishenpur, 27-Moirang, 28-Thanga, 29-Kumbi, 46-Saikul (ST), 50-Kangpokpi, 51-Saitu (ST), 55- Tipaimukh(ST), 56-Thanlon(ST), 57-Henglep(ST), 58 Churachandpur (ST), 59-Saikot(ST), and 60-Singhat(ST).

In the Second Phase, Assembly Constituencies going for polls are 30-Lilong, 31-Thoubal, 32-Wangkhem, 33-Heirok, 34-Wangjing Tentha, 35-Khangabok, 36- Wabgai, 37-Kakching, 38-Hiyanglam, 39-Sugnoo, 40-Jiribam, 41-Chandel (ST), 42- Tengnoupal (ST), 43-Phungyar (ST), 44-Ukhrul (ST), 45-Chingai (ST), 47-Karong (ST), 48-Mao (ST), 49-Tadubi (ST),52-Tamei (ST), 53-Tamenglong (ST) and 54-Nungba (ST).

CEO stated that Silence Period has been extended from 48 hours to 72 hours from the close of poll. Maximum number of star campaigners for recognized parties has been restricted to 30 instead of 40. For unrecognized parties, it has been restricted to 15 instead of 20ECI has also directed that no physical meeting, roadshow, procession, cycle/bike/vehicle rally will be allowed till January 15, 2022.

The Election Commission of India has also come up with “Broad Guidelines for Conduct of General Election/Bye Election during COVID-19”. The number of persons to accompany a candidate during nomination has been restricted to only two. The number of vehicles allowed to enter the premises of RO is also restricted to two. Maximum numbers of persons allowed for door to door campaign is only five including the candidate. All political parties/candidates shall comply with COVID SOPs while campaigning and during the poll.

CEO, Manipur and District Functionaries are committed to comply with the guidelines on COVID issued by ECI and State Authorities in letter and spirit. Necessary arrangements are being made to ensure a COVID safe election. All polling stations will be sanitised one day before poll. Adequate facilities for hand wash, proper marking, social distancing norms, thermal scanners shall be ensured. The services of ASHA workers & volunteers shall be utilised to ensure sanitisation and queue management. Voters will be provided with face mask and hand gloves for casting votes. Polling personnel will also be equipped with sanitizers and PPE kits. Efforts will be made to vaccinate all the polling personnel with two doses along with additional precautionary booster dose. Adequate efforts will also be made to increase the percentage of electors vaccinated.

Election Commission has made provision for postal ballot to persons with disabilities whose names are marked in the electoral rolls and who possess disability certificates. This facility is also extended to senior citizens above the age of 80 and electors who are quarantined due to COVID. This facility will be made optional to the electors. PwD electors will also be provided with vehicles, volunteers and wheelchairs wherever required.

The Final Photo Electoral Rolls of all 60 (sixty) Assembly Constituencies have been published on 5th January, 2022 by the concerned Electoral Registration Officers (EROs). Accordingly, there are 9,85,119 male, 10,49,639 female and 208 Transgender electors. The number of PwD electors stands at 14565, while the number of 80+ electors is 41867. The total number of polling stations is 2959.

This time, M-3 EVMs manufactured by Electronics Corporation of India Ltd. (ECIL) shall be used in all the polling stations. First Level Checking of machines has been completed. There are 4713 Ballot Units, 4557 Control Units and 4945 VVPATs available in the State. Two Master Trainers per Assembly Constituency have been trained at CEO’s Office and training at district level for polling personnel is going on. Adequate emphasis is also given on creating awareness on EVMs. Demonstration Centres were set up in all offices of District Election Officers and Returning Officers for familiarization from 01.12.2021 till date. Besides, Demonstration Vans were also moving around the polling stations across the State. Over 1 lakh mock polled votes were cast at Demonstration Centres and all polling station locations through Mobile Demonstration Vans.

Six Assembly Constituencies have been identified as Expenditure Sensitive Constituencies: 7-Andro, 22-Wangoi, 23-Mayang Imphal, 28-Thanga 30-Lilong, 58-Churachandpur (ST). 180 Flying Squad Teams, 180 Static Surveillance Teams, 60 Video Surveillance Teams, 60 Video Viewing Teams, 60 Accounting Teams have been appointed and trained and these teams have been activated immediately. A meeting with Enforcement Agencies — Income Tax, Customs, Excise, Narcotics, BSF, CISF, Enforcement Directorate was also held on  December 10, 2021 and deliberated at length on the expenditure aspects. The ceiling of expenditure by candidates has been enhanced to Rs.28 lakhs. Candidates are required to open a separate bank account (at least one day before filing nomination) for the purpose of expenditure related to elections. Banks have been intimated to facilitate the opening of separate bank accounts for candidates and also to report suspicious cash transactions on daily basis.

Returning Officers and Assistant Returning Officers have undergone training conducted by IIIDEM on various topics including Qualification, Disqualification, Nomination, Scrutiny, Model Code of Conduct, Expenditure, Postal Ballots, EVMs, Poll Day Arrangement etc. All District Election Officers have also been trained. District Nodal Officers for Model Code of Conduct, Media, EVMs, Expenditure, Complaints, have also been trained.

341 Sector Officers have been appointed and trained and visited the polling stations for the identification of vulnerable locations and voter segments. A total of 1099 polling locations and 763 polling locations have been identified as vulnerable and critical. Steps also have been taken to identify history sheeters, trouble mongers and persons causing vulnerability and are bound down under Cr.P.C. As a measure to curb pre-poll violence, 11767 licensed arms have been made deposited to the nearest police stations out of 25299 till date. Besides deploying Micro Observers, the majority of these Critical & Vulnerable polling stations will be brought under Webcasting/Videography. Additional CAPF will also be deployed in such polling stations.

About 6588 vehicles of different types shall be required for polling personnel and security personnel on poll duty. An additional 3000 heavy vehicles will be requisitioned from Assam and Nagaland. CEO, Manipur appealed to the government departments and transport associations to extend necessary support to meet the requirements of vehicles.

Five rounds of meetings have been held with recognized National/State Political Parties functioning in Manipur. The political parties have been extending full cooperation during the Revision period and in the run-up to Elections by giving valuable feedback and suggestion. Political parties have also been sensitized on EVMs, Model Code of Conduct, Expenditure, c-Vigil, Pre Certification of Political Advertisement, IT Apps. Political parties have also been informed on the requirement of publication of criminal antecedents of candidates in newspapers/TV on three different occasions in addition to publication on their website and to report compliance as per Supreme Court’s order.

State Level MCMC, Pre Certification Committee and District MCMC have been constituted to pre-certify political advertisements and check paid news. Political Parties/Candidates have to apply at least 48 hours in advance for publication of political advertisements in electronic media including social media. All political advertisements to be published in electronic media shall be mandatorily pre-certified by MCMC.

Permission may be obtained online for holding meetings, campaigns etc. by candidates/political parties 48 hours in advance. Complaints may be lodged through c-Vigil where a complainant may upload pictures/video and report MCC violation. The complaint shall be disposed of within 100 minutes. Adequate Flying Squad Teams have been appointed and trained. Adequate publicity on c-Vigil is being done through Newspaper Ads, Hoardings, Social Media etc. Any citizen can also dial Toll Free Number 1950 for any election-related queries.

An adequate number of General Observers, Police Observers and Expenditure Observers and are proposed to be deployed across the State. The contact details of Observers will be made available once communicated by ECI.

Various voter awareness activities were taken up at Booth, Assembly Constituency, District and State levels involving youth, PwD, Transgender Icons. Special campaigns were carried out to ensure no eligible voter is left behind. Targetted programmes in collaboration with vital stakeholders, NGOs & CSOs working in the field of Persons with Disabilities and Transgenders have been carried out to ensure enrolment of and marking of eligible PwD & Transgender electors in the electoral roll. Extensive social media campaigns were also carried out for online enrolment¬NVSP, Voter portal, Voter Helpline, 1950, PwD App etc. It is worth mentioning that 29% of forms were received online as compared to a meagre 10% in the last revision.

Besides, there was a quantum jump in the enrolment/marking of PwD electors by 94% from 7520 to 14565. Further, 300 lowest voter turnout polling stations were identified under Mission 300 programme and targeted interventions to increase voter turnout in these polling stations have been carried out. Electoral Literacy Clubs at 528 schools and 46 colleges have been established and activated to spread voter education. Besides, Voter Awareness Forums have been established at Directorate Level and District Level Officers. Series of awareness activities for higher voter turnout and informed & ethical voting is also being carried out.

Additional CEO, N. Praveen Singh, Joint CEO, Manipur, Ramananda Nongmeikapam, Joint CEO (II), Manipur, Md. S. Daulat Khan, State Nodal Officers and officials concerned were also present.

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