Imphal: Around 11.4 percent of the electorate cast their vote in the first two hours of polling to 22 constituencies in the second and final phase of Manipur Assembly elections on Saturday.
People started lining up before the polling stations located mostly in the hilly areas and also some of the valleys from the early hours in an atmosphere of festivity, Former Chief Minister Okram Ibobi Singh of the Congress cast his vote at Thoubal constituency, from where he is seeking re-election. Ibobi’s son L Surjakumar, who is in the race from Khangabok constituency, also exercised his democratic right in the morning.
Voting started late in some polling stations due to some technical problems. O Ibobi also had to wait for some time before he could vote. Prime Minister Narendra Modi has appealed to the people to vote in large numbers.
“Today is the second phase of the Manipur Assembly elections. Calling upon all those whose constituencies are polling today to vote in large numbers and mark the festival of democracy,” the Prime Minister said.
Former Education Minister and BJP heavyweight, Th Radheshyam exercised his manadate at Heirok and appealed to all to vote in a free and fair manner. The fate of 92 candidates, including two women, would be decided in this phase of the polls being held in six election districts of Senapati, Jiribam, Thoubal, Ukhrul, Tamenglong and Chandel.
A total of 8,38,730 electors including 4,10,020 males, 4,28,679 females and 31 transgender are eligible to exercise their franchise . Thoubal Assembly constituency is being entirely supervised by women polling officials. About 4988 election officials are on duty at the 1247 polling stations.
The constituencies which have gone to the hustings in this phase had elected 12 Congress MLAs, as also four from Naga People’s Front (NPF), three from BJP, two from National People’s Party (NPP) and one independent in the last elections.
This time Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is contesting in 22 seats, Indian National Congress (INC) in 18, National People’s Party (NPP) in 11, Janata Dal-United (JD-U) in 10, Republican Party of India-Athawale (RPI-A) in three, Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) and Shiv Sena in two each. There are also one candidate each from CPI and Rashtriya Janhit Sangharsh Party (RJSP), besides 12 Independent contestants
Arrangements for webcasting/videography were made in all polling stations. The movement of EVMs is being tracked with the help of e-Traccar App embedded in the mobile phones of polling personnel and Sector Officers.
Meanwhile, as directed by the High Court of Manipur, dates of birth of all young voters in Heirok Assembly Constituency who appear to be in the vicinity of the age of majority, that is 18 years, would be verified by using two documents to verify their identity.
In the second phase, besides Ibobi and Radheshyam, the fate of former Congress President Gaikhangam (Nungba constituency) will be decided. Repolling is also being held in 12 polling stations, where the vote in the first phase on February 28 was declared void. On February 28, thirty eight constituencies had gone to the hustings and recorded a poll percentage of 88.63.