Second phase poll records approximately 86% turnout Most peaceful election ever in Manipur, claims CEO

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IMPHAL, Mar 8: Fates of 98 including four women who are fighting for 22 Assembly segments have been sealed in EVM as the second phase of the 11th Manipur Legislative Assembly election concluded today which recorded 86 per cent turnout like in the first phase.
Disturbances and electoral malpractices were seen in many polling stations, it is not yet clear how many polling stations would go to repoll except one in Phungyar AC.
Nonetheless, Chief Electoral Officer VK Dewangan claimed that the second phase poll was by and large peaceful.

Speaking to media persons at his Lamphelpat office this evening, Dewangan remarked that this year’s Assembly election is the most peaceful apart from registering highest turnout of voters in the history of Manipur. Altogether 22 Assembly segments including six of Thoubal district, four of Kakching, two of Ukhrul and one each of Chandel, Tengnoupal, Kamjong, Noney and Jiribam went to polls today.

The total number of voters for the 22 Assembly segments is 7,77,121 and 86 per cent of them exercised their right to adult franchise. However, communications could not be established with 25 per cent of the polling stations where voting was held today. As such, the poll percentage is likely to change when full reports are received from these polling stations, said the CEO.

Out of the total 1151 polling stations, polling process at 467 was streamed live while the same process at the remaining polling stations were video recorded offline. For the first time, 40 VVPATs were used at equal number of polling stations in Thoubal AC. As 16 EVMs and five VVPATs developed technical snags, they were replaced by new ones. Of all the polling stations, 668 were categorised as critical while 229 were listed as vulnerable. 5795 polling personnel, 8600 police personnel and 280 companies of CAPF were deployed for the second phase election. Eight numbers each of general observer, expenditure observer, police observer, three awareness observers, 578 micro observers, 22 assistant expenditure observers and 208 quick response teams were also deployed. For the first time, two polling stations of Ukhrul AC were exclusively manned by women officials, Dewangan said.

A total of 24 polling parties set off for their stations three days ahead of the polling day while 211 parties left their respective district headquarters two days ahead of the polling day.
While 89 polling parties walked for five hours to reach their stations, eight polling parties assigned duty in Jiribam AC used boats to reach their destinations. Arrangements are being made to airlift 105 polling parties to their respective district headquarters. Three MI-17 helicopters of the Indian Air Force have been reserved for the same purpose.

Moreover, 10 places have also been identified for conducting scrutiny of the dairies of Presiding Officers and other documents in case weather is not favourable for transporting them up to their respective district headquarters tomorrow. The centre’s identified for scrutiny are Tamei, Nungba and Tousem in Tamenglong district, Kasom, Kamjong and Gamnom in Ukhrul district, Joupi and Sajik Tampak in Chandel district and Willong and Purul in Senapati district.

There would be one general observer at each of these centres, informed the CEO.
District-wise poll percentages are 89.60 for Thoubal and Kakching districts, 91 for Chandel and Tengnoupal, 79 for Ukhrul and Kamjong, 81.70 for Senapati, 82 for Tamenglong and Noney and 76 for Jiribam.

Responding to a query on repoll, Dewangan said no voters turned out at 43/51 Aishi polling station of Phungyar AC after a polling personnel was killed in a bomb attack yesterday and repoll would be held for the particular polling station.

As for other polling stations, the ECI will decide after studying complaints and reports.
There were reports about confiscation of photo-voter slips by UG groups in Chandel and Ukhrul districts but it did not pose any problem as voters were informed in advance that they could cast their votes using other valid identity proof documents.

Even though there were no cases of paid news, 79 cases of violating model code of conduct were registered. Altogether Rs 2,25,28,200 in cash and 61,794 locally brewed liquor were seized in connection with the election. The CEO also conveyed gratitude to DEOs, subordinate officers and staff, State police, central forces, CSOs which carried out SVEEP campaign, media and all the voters for their contributions toward holding the election successfully.

THOUBAL
Congress will score thumping victories in both the hills and the valley, asserted Chief Minister Okram Ibobi. Chief Minister Okram Ibobi who also contested in the second phase polls has stated that 80% voters turned up to give their votes at Thoubal today. Polling in the ten ACs of Thoubal district went off peacefully although there were minor scuffles which occurred in some parts of the district. Voting was delayed in some polling stations as the EVM developed technical snags.

At an average, voter turnout percentages in the ten ACs were, Lilong AC (81.23%), Thoubal (76.06%), Wangkhem AC (82.34%), Heirok (83.11%), Wangjing-Tentha (75.04%), Khangabok AC (79.64%), Wabagai (81.67%), Kakching AC (79.87%), Hiyanglam (91.07%) and Sugnu AC (83.69%).

The EVM used in polling station no 34/12 of Wangjing Tentha A/C under Thoubal district was destroyed today during a scuffle and the police had to fire several rounds of fire in the air to control the situation.

According to the Presiding Officer of the polling station, the incident happened at around 7.10 am when the voting process began despite the absence of BJP and CPI agents who failed to reach the polling station on time. A scuffle broke out when some people opposed the commencement of voting without the presence of the BJP and CPI agents as only those of INC and MNDF were present inside the polling station. He claimed that a large group of people not only thrashed him but also vandalised the EVM and even took away the camera installed inside the polling station.

On the other hand, one CPI worker alleged that Congress and other agents barred the CPI agent from entering the polling station for arriving late which resulted in the incident. RO of Wangjing Tentha and Heirok A/C, Ng Bhogen and election observers came and oversaw the situation and voting resumed at the polling station at around 9.25 am under tight security after the EVM was found safe and unscathed.

Speaking to media persons, MLA and INC candidate of Wangjing Tentha A/C, Paonam Brojen said, “The incident resulted from a misunderstanding and everything is normal now. It is natural for political parties to bash one another during elections. There is no reason to get paranoid and one can vote freely due to the superb procedures and measures taken by the ECI”.

CHANDEL
Cadres of the militant groups presently under Suspension of Operation (SoO) pact participated with full vigour in the second phase poll held today in Chandel Assembly Constituency. There were also reports of armed militants threatening voters to vote for candidates supported by them. They also collected signatures and photo-voter slips from some voters last night.

However, there has been no formal complaint against the excesses committed by the armed militants. Two armed men clad in plain clothes came to 41/24 Mantripantha polling station at around 8 am today and tried to rig the polling process and it resulted in a confrontation with security forces.

The two armed men were overpowered and handed over to police. However, police sources informed that no weapons were recovered from the two men. Incidentally, 41/24 Mantripantha polling station is the home polling station of BJP candidate SS Olish.
Another confrontation broke out at 41/32 polling station at around the same time in the course of which the EVM was damaged. As such, polling was suspended at the particular polling station.

An aged man came with 10 photo-voter slips to 41/16 Maha Union High School polling station at around 8.30 am and cast votes 10 times.

Reporters also came across a woman bringing 12 photo-voter slips and she cast votes 12 times, once each for the equal number of photo-voter slips.On the other hand, stringent security measures were also put in place so as to enable voters cast their votes without any sense of fear in free and fair manner.The Chandel SP was seen going around monitoring the security arrangements.Assam Rifles were also seen checking suspected people apart from doing ROP duty.Chandel DEO Bobby Waikhom said that 37 paramilitary armed companies and 23 sector Magistrates were deployed so as to avoid any unwanted incidents.Live webcasting and offline camera recordings were done to monitor the poll process.

UKHRUL
Six EVMs were destroyed in 45-Chingai AC (54/4- Chingjaroi CV, 45/6 Chingjaroi Khullen A, 45/7- Chingjaroi Khullen, 45/30 Paoyi A and Paoyi B) during polling for the second phase of Assembly election today.Amid tight security measures, uneasy peace prevailed throughout the polling day in all the three Assembly Constituencies of Ukhrul district.

During a brief interaction with BJP candidate for Chingai AC Sword Vashum, he expressed strong disappointment on the conduct of election. He said infuriated voters destroyed the EVMs as unidentified persons were allowed to go inside the polling station even though security forces were deployed.

In a separate incident at 44/44 and 44/45 VPH polling stations under Ukhrul AC, an unidentified youth allegedly snatched voter’s slip in front of the security personnel. The voter’s slip was returned to the owner after party leaders intervened.At 44/40 Rayotang polling station, the PRO said that he was warned by some unidentified youths before polling and he further mentioned that the Congress polling agent was later found missing.In another incident, the Presiding Officer of 44/41polling station Seipet said some unidentified youths forced him to append his signature and announce a repoll.The Presiding Officer immediately reported the matter to the higher authority concerned.At most of the polling stations in Ukhrul district, polling was peacefully conducted though the voters reportedly experienced some issues with the EVMs.

Due to faulty EVMs, voting in at least 10 polling stations began half an hour late.
According to a reliable source, more than 60 polling parties have arrived in Ukhrul and deposited EVMs in the strong rooms.

JIRIBAM
Polling ended peacefully in 40-Jiribam Assembly Constituency.The total voter turnout was 81.46% with 22,924 voters exercising their franchise from 7 am till 3 pm against the total 28,140 voters.Voters of 40-Jiribam AC will decide the fate of 6 candidates including sitting MLA Th Debendra Singh (INC), former Minister A Biren Singh (NEIDP) and Th Ranabir Singh (BJP).

Adequate number of security personnel were deployed within the periphery of 100 meters in all the polling stations to thwart any untoward poll related incident. Observers, micro-observers and Sector Magistrate kept a tight vigil during the poll process besides deployment of seven companies of CPF (Central Paramilitary Forces) in addition to the State forces.
Jiribam Higher Secondary School, Babupara became a model polling station with the deputation of first two women Presiding Officers H Rajashree Devi at polling station No 40/2 and Oinam Anita Devi at polling station No 40/4.

In all the 40 polling stations, maximum numbers of voters turned up to exercise their franchise despite the scorching heat. Besides facilitating wheelchair for the differently abled voters, rest rooms cum waiting room facilities for voters and medical assistance team were also provided.

Maximum polling was recorded in 40/18 Aglapur with 94.90% voter turnout. In 40/18 Aglapur, 484 voters out of total 505 voters exercised their franchise.40/2 Kalinagar Part-2 recorded a minimum of 65.30% voter turnout.Till 6.30 pm, polling teams of all the 40 polling stations submitted their respective EVMs at the office of the DC, Jiribam, Chingdong Leikai.

Source: The Sangai Express 

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