Re-election ordered after reports of violence on Jan. 28
Re-polling in 34 stations spread over 11 Assembly constituencies in five hill districts of Manipur ended at 3 p.m. on Saturday without any incident.
Unprecedented security arrangements were made under instructions from the Election Commission.
The repoll was ordered after a terror attack and reports of booth capturing and forcing of electors to vote in favour of some particular candidates on January 28. Four polling officials, one security man and one civilian were killed when militants opened fire at a polling booth at Chakpi Karong in Chandel district.
On Saturday, voters, polling officials and agents were frisked at two check points before being allowed inside the polling rooms — a first of its kind arrangement. Voter identity cards were thoroughly checked. One security man was deployed near the door to ensure that no one was forced or bullied to cast vote in favour of a candidate.
Central paramilitary forces were deployed at all the polling stations. Police and State paramilitary personnel patrolled the peripheries of the stations to prevent a January 28-like incident.
Voting began from 7 a.m. Taking advantage of a sunny morning, voters came out in large numbers and long queues were seen outside the booths. This despite reports of threats from militants to target voters.
Immediately after the polls, the electronic voting machines were air-lifted to Imphal where counting will take place on March 6.
The major players in the hill districts are the Congress, Nagaland-based Naga People's Front (NPF), which is participating for the first time with the agenda of dividing Manipur to merge the “Naga areas” with Nagaland, and the Trinamool Congress.
It would be a setback for the NPF if it cannot secure at least 10 out of the 12 seats it is contesting in the hill districts. In 2007, the United Naga Council (UNC) had “sponsored” 11 independent candidates on the issue of uniting the Naga areas. Six of them were elected. The UNC had asked them to resign from the membership of the House last year.
Keywords: Manipur re-elections