Over 78% polling in first phase of Manipur elections amid sporadic violence

Sporadic incidents of violence were reported from various places that went to polls on February 28 during the first phase of the Manipur assembly election.

However, the overall poll situation was largely peaceful with 78.03 per cent turnout recorded till 5 pm, according to officials of the chief electoral officer (CEO) of Manipur.

As many as 173 candidates, including 15 female candidates, are in the fray for the first phase of the polls.

A total of 12,09,439 electorates – 5,80,607 males, 6,28,657 females and 175 transgender – were expected to exercise their franchise across 1,721 polling stations in this phase of elections in Manipur.

As per a report of the state CEO, the overall voter turnout recorded at 5 pm was 78.03%.

At 82.19%, Kangpokpi and Imphal West districts recorded the highest voter turnout and Bishnupur, with 73.44%, recorded the lowest.

Imphal East district recorded 76.64% while Churachandpur and Pherzawl together recorded 74.45%.

Meanwhile, at some polling stations, security forces on poll duty resorted to firing guns in the air in a bid to take control of the violence clashes among workers and supporters of candidates.

In one of the polling stations at Keithelmanbi under Saitu constituency of Kangpokpi district where the EVM was destroyed by a group of people after the voting started, a re-poll is likely to be ordered.

Security personnel opened fire in the air in a bid to disperse a violent mob that vandalized the polling station including the EVM.

Following the violence incident, Congress candidate in the fray from the constituency Lamtinthang was reportedly detained by the police.

Denouncing the detention of the candidate, a large number of people came out and imposed a snap blockade on the roads at many places in the constituency.

A clash between workers of candidates of BJP and Kuki People’s Alliance (KPA) workers in Singhat constituency of Churachandpur was also reported.

However, after the security force personnel on poll duty took control of the situation and polling was resumed after the damaged voting unit was replaced.

The security force personnel also resorted to firing several rounds of guns in the air to disperse a mob at Phunal Maring polling station in Keirao assembly constituency of Imphal East district of Manipur.

Reports said that the mob erupted after workers of the BJP candidate from the constituency fired some rounds of guns towards the polling station while the voting was in progress.

Some workers and supporters of the NPP candidate from the constituency reportedly sustained injuries in the firing by the workers of the BJP candidate.

Police also fired several rounds of tear gas shells in their bid to control a crowd protesting against the alleged physical assault of a worker of NCP candidate from Khurai constituency in Imphal East district allegedly by the BJP candidate from the same constituency.

The incident occurred at the last hour of the voting at a polling station at Khurai Leiningthou Leirak where the BJP candidate turned up along with some of his workers.

The police took control of the situation but a large number of armed police personnel were detailed in the area as tension was running high.

Reports of clashes among the supporters of the rival candidates were also poured in from various polling stations apart from the voting continued till late in the evening even after the polling hour ended at 6 pm.

The voting for the first phase of the two-phase elections to the Manipur assembly began at 7 am on February 28 across 38 constituencies amid high tension and tight security arrangements.

The 38 constituencies spread across six districts of Manipur with 10 in Imphal East, 13 in Imphal West, six in Bishnupur, six in Churachandpur-Pherzawl and three in Kangpokpi district.

The second and final phase of polling in Manipur will be held on March 5. Counting of votes will be done on March 10.

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