75 percent voter turnout amidst reports of poll boycott and missing polling station

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IMPHAL, April 17: The Inner Manipur Parliamentary Constituency went to the polls alongwith 120 other parliamentary constituencies in 11 states, today, in the biggest of nine phases of the 16th Lok Sabha Election.

With altogether 121 constituencies out of 543 going to the polls, the day is crucial for both the ruling Congress and the BJP aiming for a majority to form the next government.

Polling in the Inner constituency was fairly peaceful and violence free with total voter turnout hovering between 72 to 75 percent, chief electoral officer, Oinam Nabakishore told media persons this afternoon.

This year’s turnout is more than the poll percentage of the last Lok Sabha election in the constituency, he added.

Briefing media persons at his office chamber at the new secretariat, the CEO informed that based on the reports from the concerned DCs of the four districts, 70 percent voter turnout was recorded in Imphal West district, 71 percent in Imphal East district, 84 percent in Bishunupur district and 75 percent in Thoubal district.

The CEO further informed that altogether 15 EVMs had to be replaced due to malfunctioning, while 13 were replaced before the poll two EVMs had to be replaced during the hectic polling period.  

Even as no poll related violence was reported some stray incidents occurred during the polling period, the CEO maintained.

Voters at Namdunlong and Gaipuinam this morning staged a protest for shifting a polling station 15/14 Kabo Leikai Nongpok (D) Minuthong Khunou Primary School under Wangkhei A/C Imphal East district, to a different location.

But the problem was solved after the polling station was shifted again to its previous place, continued the CEO.

With the voting period delayed due to the misunderstanding the voting started around 10:30 am but additional time was allotted to the voters there, the CEO added.

Another problem was faced at polling station numbers 25/1, 25/2, 25/3 and 25/4 at Leimaram and Heinoupok under 25-Oinam AC Buishnupur district. With no voters turning up to exercise their franchise, the CEO informed that he had to rushed to the area with additional security to investigate the matter.

Nabakishore informed that the problem was not related with the poll but was concerning a tussle between Nambol OC and the locals against the former’s use of undemocratic words to the local women regarding an incident.

The local women folk are demanding immediate transfer of the Nambol OC and revoking the FIR lodged against the JAC activists. Despite an appeal not to boycott the poll the locals did not budged to withdraw their stance, lamented Nabakishore.

When enquired whether there was possibility of re-poll in the said four polling station, the CEO replied that there was no question of re-poll instead directed the presiding officer of the particular polling stations to file form 17 (a) as per norms and record it in the diary of the Presiding Officers till the end of the poll.

Another problem occurred at Lamsang AC at Lambal polling station number 17/29 wherein polling started only by 12 noon due to protest staged by locals following arrest of a local by AR personnel.

The local were demanding the unconditional release of the arrested persons, revealed the CEO.

Report was also received that the INC candidate Dr Th Meinya has dispersed other election agents from the polling station and he sat inside for quite long but the report is not official said the CEO adding that the complaint was lodged with the DC Imphal West.

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