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Thursday, May 30, 2024

Manipur ready for Lok Sabha elections amid tight security

Republican Party of India (RPI) has nominated Thounaojam Maheshwar

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IMPHAL, April 18: Tight security arrangements have been put in place for the first of the two-phased Lok Sabha elections in Manipur, which had been rocked by ethnic violence over the last one year, officials said on Thursday.

The Inner Manipur Lok Sabha seat, which comprises 32 of the 60 assembly segments in the state, and 15 assembly segments of the Outer Manipur Lok Sabha seat will go to polls in the first phase on Friday. Voting will be held in the remaining 13 segments of Outer Manipur in the second phase on April 26.

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A total of six candidates, including state education minister Thounaojam Basanta Kumar Singh of the BJP and Angomcha Bimol Akoijam of the Congress, are contesting the Inner Manipur seat.

Republican Party of India (RPI) has nominated Thounaojam Maheshwar, while there are three other Independent candidates.

Voting will commence at 7 am and is likely to continue till 4 pm.

A total of 9.91 lakh voters are eligible to exercise their franchise in Inner Manipur, with the highest concentration of 3.81 lakh in Imphal West district, District Election Officer Th Kirankumar said.

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Voting will be held in 1,319 polling stations in Inner Manipur, in addition to 29 special polling stations set up for people displaced due to the ethnic strife, he said.

Manipur has witnessed violent ethnic clashes between hills-based Kukis and valley-based Meiteis that left over 200 dead and thousands homeless since May 3 last year.

A total of 70 polling stations have been identified as either vulnerable or critical in Imphal West district and adequate security arrangements, including the deployment of central armed police forces, have been made, he said.

Outer Manipur, which is reserved for Scheduled Tribes, will witness a four-cornered contest between Naga People’s Front’s K Timothy Zimik, Congress’ Alfred Kanngam Arthur and Independent candidates Kho John and Alyson Abonmai, with all the candidates being Nagas.

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BJP has not fielded any candidate and has declared support for its ally NPF.

There are over 10.22 lakh voters in the Outer Manipur Lok Sabha seat.

A total of 22 special polling stations have been established for internally displaced people in Churachandpur district and 24 in Kangpokpi, officials said.

Campaigning ended at 4 pm on Wednesday for the segments that are going to polls in the first phase. Canvassing has been low-key in the state due to the ethnic strife.

Meanwhile, polling personnel have been dispatched to their respective polling stations on Thursday.

Around 5,000 polling personnel have been sent to 530 polling stations, in addition to eight special polling stations for internally displaced people, across 13 assembly segments in Imphal West district, Th Kirankumar said.

Imphal East District Election Officer Kh Diana said 1,782 polling personnel have been sent to 441 polling stations across 10 assembly segments, besides nine special polling stations for internally displaced people.

She said polling stations in Wangkhei and Yaiskul assembly constituencies will be manned by women.

A total of 58 vulnerable and 67 critical polling stations have been identified in Imphal East district, Diana said.

In Thoubal district, 248 polling stations have been set up, of which 123 are for Inner Manipur and 125 for Outer Manipur. (PTI)

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