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73 percent polling in Manipur


Imphal, April 9:

Around 73 percent of the total 911,699 voters in Outer Manipur constituency Wednesday cast their ballots as polling to one of the two constituencies in the northeastern state passed off peacefully, officials said.

Election Commission and police officials said that balloting took place peacefully in constituency, reserved for tribal candidates, with no major untoward incidents reported so far.

“Dressed in traditional attire, long queues of voters were seen in most of the polling stations even before the voting started at 7 a.m. The balloting ended at 4 p.m,” an Election Commission official told reporters.

“About 73 percent voters cast their votes in the Outer Manipur constituency. There was no report of any untoward incident,” he said, adding that the turnout might go up after the final reports came in as there were still some people to cast votes.

However, a police spokesman said that there were some incidents of scuffles between the members of rival political parties in Ukhrul and Churachandpur districts. “But due to timely intervention of the security forces, no major incidents occurred in both the places,” he said.

Voting in the Inner Manipur constituency will be held April 17. The northeastern state, which shares a border with Myanmar, is ruled by the Congress.

In the last Lok Sabha elections in 2009, the turnout of voters in the entire state was 77.82 percent.

Due to security reasons, the polling hours in Manipur and Nagaland was from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m, unlike the other northeastern states where votes can be cast between 7 a.m. and 5 p.m.

Poll panel official said that polling went off peacefully in all the five hill districts of Ukhrul, Senapati, Chandel, Tamenglong and Churachandpur, where central security forces have been deployed in large numbers.

In all, 911,699 voters, including 463,068 women, will elect one representative in the lower house of parliament from among the 10 candidates, including one women aspirant.

There were 1,406 polling stations in the constituency.

The Congress had re-nominated its sitting member Thangso Baite while the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has fielded Gangmumei Kamei, the Trinamool Congress Kim Gangte, and the Nationalist Congress Party Chungkhokai Doungel.

Gangte, 51, was the first woman parliamentarian from Manipur to be elected to the Lok Sabha in 1998. She was then as a Communist Party of India (CPI) nominee.

Repeal of the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act, 1958, and development were the major issues in the election this year.

BJP’s prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi and Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi addressed rallies in the state, once ravaged by the terrorism. Nagaland Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio had campaigned in the hill districts of Senapati and Tamenglong for candidates of his Naga Peoples Front.