Manipur records 74 percent polling
Around 74 percent of the 874,000 voters cast their ballot Thursday for the second Lok Sabha seat in Manipur, officials said.
An Election Commission official said polling took place peacefully for the Inner Manipur seat, and no untoward incident was reported. "Balloting was completely peaceful," he added.
State Chief Electoral Officer Oinam Nabakishore Singh put the voter turnout at 74 percent till the end of polling.
Around 350 voters did not vote at a polling station, 125 km south of Imphal, in Bishenpur district till late afternoon accusing the authorities of not taking up development schemes in their area.
"Later, after persuasion by officials, the agitated voters cast their ballot," the election official added.
About 78 percent of the total 911,000 voters in the tribal reserved Outer Manipur constituency cast their ballot April 9.
Around 874,000 voters, including 448,000 women, were eligible to vote Thursday at 1,406 polling stations. Eight candidates, including a woman, are in the fray.
"Not a single untoward incident was reported in any of the four hilly districts - Imphal East, Imphal West, Bishenpur and Thoubal - where elections were held," the poll panel official told reporters.
Police said a militant outfit asked people to boycott the polls, but people rejected the demand. "Balloting was absolutely smooth and peaceful," an official said.
In the 2009 election, the turnout in the entire state was 77.82 percent. While 70.56 percent voters cast their ballot in Inner Manipur, 83.15 percent voted in Outer Manipur.
Voting was delayed for a short while due to technical snags in electronic voting machines at some polling booths, but engineers rectified the problems or replaced the EVMs and balloting went on normally.
Over 12,000 paramilitary troopers and state security personnel have been deployed for security.
Once ravaged by terrorism, Manipur still suffers from militancy, and the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act, 1958, (AFSPA) is a major issue, along with development.
Besides withdrawal of the AFSPA, other issues dominating the campaign were the alleged misgovernance by the Congress, under-development, unemployment and drug menace.
Incumbent member Thokchom Meinya Singh of the Congress, Moirangthem Nara Singh of the Communist Party of India (CPI), and R.K. Ranjan Singh, a former Manipur University professor of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) are the main contenders.
Meinya Singh, who is seeking re-election for the third consecutive term, defeated Nara Singh in 2009.
The Trinamool Congress has fielded Sarangthem Manaobi, a former police officer.
For security reasons, polling hours in Manipur are from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m, unlike in the other northeastern states where votes would be cast between 7 a.m. and 5 p.m.
(Posted on 17-04-2014)