Violence mars Manipur phase 1 polls, turnout over 78 p.c.

Policeman dies in ‘accidental firing’; booth-capturing foiled

Updated - February 28, 2022 10:57 pm IST

Published - February 28, 2022 09:38 pm IST - GUWAHATI/IMPHAL

Women holding their identification cards, wait in a queue to cast their vote during the first phase of Manipur Assembly Elections, in Manipur.

Women holding their identification cards, wait in a queue to cast their vote during the first phase of Manipur Assembly Elections, in Manipur. | Photo Credit: PTI

Violence marred the first phase of elections to 38 of Manipur’s 60 Assembly constituencies on Monday as 78.03% of about 12.09 lakh voters exercised their franchise by 5 p.m.

Election officials said the figure was likely to increase after reports from all remote polling stations come in. The turnout in the 2017 election was 86%, the highest ever recorded in the State.

Chief Electoral Officer Rajesh Agarwal said a policeman, identified as Naorem Ibochouba, died in “suspected accidental firing” from his service rifle while on poll duty in Churachandpur district’s Tipaimukh constituency.


A clash between supporters of two political parties was also reported from the district. One person was injured and an EVM was damaged. It was later replaced.

Alleged Congress workers vandalised a BJP polling booth in Kakwa area in Langthabal constituency in the Imphal West district while a vehicle of a National People’s Party (NPP) candidate was damaged by supporters of a rival group in the Keirao seat. Nobody was injured in the incident, police said.

An alleged bid by Congress supporters to capture a booth at New Keithelmanbi in the Kangpokpi district was foiled when security forces resorted to firing blank rounds to disperse the crowd. Voting at the polling station resumed after a few minutes.

In Kangpokpi district’s Saitu constituency, the BJP lodged a complaint against Congress candidate L. Haokip for allegedly attacking people besides smashing some EVMs.

The situation in Imphal West district’s Langthabal constituency turned tense after the supporters of a political party accused a government employee of “helping” a voter.

In Imphal East district’s Phunal Maring village, the police registered a case after an enraged mob engaged in "election offence and damages with common intention by using firearms".

Alleged proxy voting

There were allegations of proxy voting too. "Dennis Lallienzuol, a young resident of Churachandpur, went to the polling booth today to exercise his democratic right, only to find that his vote had already been cast! This not an isolated incident of malpractice," tweeted senior Congress leader Jairam Ramesh.

The Congress on Sunday night expelled its Wangoi candidate, Salam Joy Singh, from the primary membership of the party on disciplinary grounds. He had allegedly pledged support to his BJP rival, Oinam Lukhoi.

Hours before voting started at 7 a.m. across 1,721 polling stations amid tight security and adherence to COVID-19 protocols, some masked miscreants, armed with machetes, seriously injured three people in Thoubal district’s Wangjing Tentha constituency. Two of the injured were said to be members of the BJP and one of the Congress.

Governor La Ganesan and Chief Minister Nongthombam Biren were among the early voters in their respective constituencies of Sagolband and Heingang. “The BJP shall bag more than 30 of the 38 constituencies in the first phase,” the Chief Minister said after casting his vote along with his wife.

Prominent candidates in fray

The fate of 173 candidates, including 15 women, was sealed in the ballot boxes on Monday. Apart from the Chief Minister, the prominent candidates in the fray in the first phase are Deputy Chief Minister and NPP candidate Yumnam Joykumar, senior Minister Thongam Biswajit, Assembly Speaker Yumnam Khemchand and Manipur Congress president Nameirakpam Loken.

Of the 38 seats, 10 are in Imphal East, 13 in Imphal West, six each in Bishnupur and Churachandpur, and three in Kangpokpi district. Nine seats are reserved for Scheduled Tribes and one for Scheduled Castes.

The BJP has fielded candidates in all the 38 seats, followed by the Congress with 35 contestants, the NPP with 27, the JD(U) with 28, the Shiv Sena with seven, the RPI (Athawale) with six, the LJP (Ram Vilas) with three, and the Kuki National Assembly and the Kuki People's Alliance with two each. Eighteen Independents are also in the fray.

(With inputs from agencies)

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