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A Day after the Election – Phase 2

Most peaceful election ever in Manipur, claims CEOThe Sangai Express

Imphal, March 08 2017: 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.

This election is a referendum: Ibobi

Imphal Free Press | Mar 8

Large turnout in the second phase state Assembly election has boosted morale of chief minister Okram Ibobi , who is seeking to be in power for the fourth consecutive term, terming the election a ‘referendum.’

‘This is a kind of a referendum. The hill voters are supporting us. We will get a clear mandate. Wait for March 11 and you will know,’ Ibobi told reporters after casting his vote at Athokpam Makha primary school at 7 am today.

Ibobi did not elaborate on the referendum. However, his reply was in response to questions asked by reporters about the ongoing blockade and Naga organisations’ particularly United Naga Council’s stand against his government. Ibobi led his four member family comprising wife Landhoni Devi, son Okram Surjakumar and daughter-in-law in casting the votes. They walked out of their nearby home and cast the votes at 7 am. The family is the first to cast votes in this constituency and the others followed.

Though Ibobi is contesting from the neighbouring constituency of Thoubal, where Irom Chanu Sharmila is challenging him, his name is listed in the voter lists of Athokpam Makha in Khangabok constituency.

His son Surjakumar is contesting in Khangabok constituency, which was represented two times by his mother Landhoni Devi. Ibobi shrugged off the threat from the BJP, saying ‘the fight with BJP is not tough.’

Ukhrul poll: re-poll likely in 8 polling stations
UKHRUL | Mar 8

Imphal Free Press: In the second phase of state assembly election, Ukhrul district today saw sporadic incidents of clashes between supporters of different rival candidates at certain pockets, whereas voting elsewhere has been peaceful by and large.

Till the filing of this report only 100 polling teams have reported so far out of the total 201 polling booths across the three assembly constituencies of Ukhrul, Phungyar and Chingai. Voters turnout is expected to cross the 80 per cent mark. The total votes polled could not be ascertained as the remaining teams are expected to reach late in the evening or tomorrow.

Meanwhile clashes between two rival parties have been reported at two polling booths of Chingjaroi Khullen where two EVM machines were damaged by the mob. Similar clashes took place at polling stations of Chingjaroi CV and Paoyi under Chingai AC leading to suspension of voting early in the day.

Accordingly, the district administration has recommended re-poll for eight polling stations. Complaints against booth capturing by rival parties, clashes between rival parties, destruction and malfunctioning of EVM machines have been largely cited for the re-poll.

The polling stations recommended for re-poll includes 45/06 and 07 of Chingjaroi Khullen, 45/31 of Chingjaroi CV, 45/30 of Paoyi A and B, and 45/30 Poi in -Chingai A/C, Aishi in Phungyar A/C and 44/32 Kazipphung, Hundung C1 in Ukhrul A/C. A total of eight EVM machines were destroyed on the polling day, sources said.

Threats, proxy votes ‘galore’ in Nungba
Imphal Free Press | Mar 8

The second phase general elections to 11th Legislative Assembly of Manipur of the 54 Nungba assembly constituency was conducted successfully without any major poll violence. Nungba AC is considered as one of the most sensitive with reports of frequent interference by militant groups prior to the polls.

Polling started at 7 am and concluded at 3 pm with heavy security deployment including the state police commando in order to prevent any poll violence. At Khoupum valley which is also the home polling of the deputy Chief Minister Gaikhangam, BJP supporters and inner agents were allegedly barred from exercising their franchise in certain polling stations.

In 54/26 Gaidimjang (A), 54/27 Gaidimjang (B), Congress supporters allegedly barred BJP supporters from entering the polling station including their agents thereby preventing them from casting their votes. According polling personnel stationed at the polling stations 54/26 Gaidimjang (A), 417 voters cast their votes by 11.15 am against the total number of 580 voters.

In 54/27 Gaidimjang (B) 460 voters had already cast their votes by 11.15 am against the total votes of 624. Similarly, Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) also allegedly prevented BJP candidates from casting their votes in 54/25 Thanogong where 443 voter had already cast their votes by 11.30 am against the total votes of 557.

State CPI condemns assault
Imphal Free Press | Mar 8

The Communist Party of India (CPI), Manipur state council has strongly condemned the brutal assault of the election agent of CPI candidate of Wangjing Tentha Haobam Robindro by the BJP workers this morning.

A release signed by the secretary of CPI State Election Committee Sotinkumar said at around 7.30 this morning, the election agent Th Hemo who went to inspect the polling stations was brutally assaulted by the workers of BJP at Tentha Khunou Bazar. It further said he sustained head injury and was taken to Thoubal district hospital and later was referred to RIMS hospital for further treatment.

First voters deprived of rewards
The Sangai Express

Imphal, March 08 2017: Even though the Election Commission of India (ECI) promised a simple reward for the first individuals to cast their vote in the second phase of the 11th State Assembly election held in 22 ACs as a form of encouragement and motivation to exercise one’s voting rights, some of the polling stations have not provided any kind of incentives to the voters.

Some first voters have told The Sangai Express that even when they showed proof of voting first, the concerned authorities have declined to reward them saying that there is nothing to give.

One of the first voters said that no reward or incentive was given despite the promise adding that he wanted to know and be sure if any kind of rewards were given to the first voters of the first phase polls.

One of the first voters of Heirok AC also said that he wanted to know what was given to the first voters and in which polling station, during the first phase of the election by the ECI.

4 of 5 candidates in Thanlon AC cry foul
The Sangai Express

Churachandpur, March 08 2017: LJP candidate Thangkhangin, NPP candidate T Nengzakham Tombing, INC candidate Chinkholal Thangsing and an Independent candidate P Khamsanglian in Thanlon AC jointly addressed the press today and issued a joint statement wherein they said that they are deeply shocked and appalled at the blatant use of force, intimidation, coercion of voters and booth capturing by the BJP candidate and his workers on the polling day of the first phase polls.

They alleged that an armed group that is presently under SoO pact incited fear among voters to cast their vote for the BJP candidate.

The militants threatened the voters of dire consequences and demanded 80-90 per cent vote from the polling agents.

How BJP plans to end 15-year Cong rule using the Assam formula
The Sangai Express / Hindustan Times

Imphal, March 08 2017: Learning from the failure to open its account in Manipur in 2012, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has made an ambitious push five years later to end Congress’s 15-year rule in the state. The party is contesting all 60 seats — a big jump from 19 in 2012 in the State this election.

It hopes to add Manipur to the list of BJP-ruled states in the region after Assam and Arunachal Pradesh. Incidentally, it is Assam’s winning template that is playing out in Manipur, along with other strategies. In Assam, the BJP was able to rope in several high-profile Congress leaders including Himanta Biswa Sarma, who is now a powerful minister in the state.

Manipur has seen a similar script. In the run-up to the assembly election, six Congress MLAs quit the party and joined the BJP. All of them got BJP tickets to contest the polls.

‘We will definitely be the single largest party and expect to win between 30-35 seats.

The Congress figure would remain below 20,’ senior BJP leader and candidate from Nambol seat T Chaoba told HT. High voter turnout in Assam last year helped the BJP win and the party is hopeful enthusiasm among voters in Manipur — more than 86% turnout in the first phase and 86% in the second phase — would work in its favour.

‘The huge turnout (in the first phase) reflected people’s yearning for change and their disappointment with the Congress government,’ Sarma told journalists in Imphal on Monday.

Despite being part of the Naga Peoples’ Front-led ruling coalition in Nagaland, in Manipur, the BJP decided to go alone in the polls; a clear attempt to win votes of the dominant Meitei community in the Imphal Valley. The NPF is contesting 15 seats in the Naga-dominated areas of the state and there could be a post-poll alliance between the party and BJP to keep Congress out of power.

In 2012, the NPF had won four seats. The BJP also used the four-month old blockade of national highways by Uni-ted Naga Council, the apex Naga body in Manipur, to target the Congress and chief minister Okram Ibobi . At his rally in Imphal last month, Prime Minister Narendra Modi promised to end the blockade if BJP came to power in the state.

BJP president Amit Shah said the blockade would end within 24 hours of his party assuming charge in Imphal. The ruling Congress tried to put the Centre on the mat by raking up the issue of the 2015 Framework Agreement between National Socialist Council of Nagaland-Isak-Muivah and the Centre.

Details of the agreement are yet to be made public, but there are apprehensions in Manipur that the state’s territorial integrity could get affected if the deal gets implemented.

In this photograph taken on March 2, 2017, a man listens during a Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) election rally at Wangkhem village in Thoubal district, some 45 km from Imphal.

To negate such fears, senior BJP leaders including Modi, Shah and Union home minister Rajnath stressed in their rallies that Manipur’s territory would not get affected by the agreement.

While Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi was the only star campaigner for the party in Manipur, the BJP bid was headlined by Modi, and Shah during the last days of campaigning.

Unlike in Assam, where the party’s projection of Sarbananda Sonowal as the chief minister candidate helped secure votes, the BJP decided not to project anyone for the top post in Manipur and relied solely on Modi’s appeal to work. Aware that CM, who holds the record as Manipur’s longest serving chief minister, could deny it victory; the BJP chose to target him.

Report of mob burning my house false: Phunzathang

Imphal Free Press | Mar 8

Phunzathang Tonsing, NPP candidate of Churachandpur constituency has clarified that the newspaper report of 2 persons rescued from his house after alleged abduction as false and unfounded. Speaking to the reporters at JNIMS to visit the 5 injured, Phunzathang said that one of his rival candidates has been resorting to rumour mongering to incite mob violence. He also maintained that report of some armed cadres confined in his house is also false report.

‘The day before itself SP of Churachandpur personally inspected each and every room of my house. They did not find any suspected persons’, he said.

He further said that yesterday’s mob violence was pre planned by the same rival candidates with the active support of one vested organisation. People who gathered at the hospital to visit the 2 Lamjang victims were incited with false rumours and deliberate propaganda to attack at his residence, he added.

A Day after the Election - Phase 1

    The first phase of Manipur Election 2017 concluded yesterday. Here’s a collection of news snippets from news media.

Manipur Election 2017: Over 80% turnout as phase one ends; PRJA candidate assaulted (Firstpost)

Imphal: Over 80 percent polling was recorded in the first phase of elections to the Manipur Assembly on Saturday. Voting in the 38 constituencies, which went to polls on the day, came to a close at 3 pm, as per the Election Commission (EC) schedule. Although the preliminary reports at 3 pm put the polling figure at 80 percent, the commission officials said the final figure could be a little higher.

Manipur Election 2017: Rs 20,000 cr sanctioned for road development in state, says Nitin Gadkari in poll rally (Firstpost)

Imphal: Union Minister for Road Transports and Highways and Shipping Nitin Gadkari on Saturday canvassed for the BJP candidate in Noney, a hill district of Manipur. Addressing an election rally at Longmai (Noney) Common Ground, the Union minister said that an amount of Rs 22,000 crore have been sanctioned for development of the road Infrastructures in Manipur.

Manipur election: Litmus test for BJP in Congress domain in first phase today (Hindustan Times)
The Bharatiya Janata Party’s bid to end 15 years of Congress rule in Manipur will be put to test across 38 of the 60 assembly seats where elections will be held in first of the two phases on Saturday. Much is at stake for the BJP, which is keen on expanding its footprint in the northeast after forming governments in Assam and Arunachal Pradesh. It is the only party to have fielded candidates in all the 60 seats, up from 19 in the 2012 polls.

Record 84 pc turnout in first phase of Manipur polls: EC (Indian Express)

In 2009, the turnout was 76 per cent, while it was 77.18 per cent in the 2012 assembly polls. In the 2014 Lok Sabha polls, the turnout was 78.2 per cent. Manipur Saturday witnessed a record turnout of 84 per cent in the first phase of polling for the 60-seat state assembly. The Election Commission said the polling percentage could go up as figures of voter turnout were available for 72 per cent of the polling stations at 4 pm. The number of people who turned up to vote in the remaining 28 per cent polling stations will be known by tomorrow as they are in areas where communication is poor. The polling parties in these areas will be airlifted tomorrow.

Gaikhangam predicts absolute majority for Congress (Imphal Free Press)

Former MPCC president and deputy chief minister Gaikhangam has predicted a comeback in the current assembly elections wide a margin. Speaking to IFP after the first phase of Manipur elections Gaikhangam said, out of the 38 constituencies going to polls in the first phase Congress expects about 28 seats and along with the second phase, Congress is expecting about 40 seats in the 60 member Manipur assembly. Gaikhangam said, BJP win would not cross two digit although their leaders have expressed high expectations.

PRJA convenor Erendro attacked (The Sangai Express)

People’s Resurgence and Justice Alliance (PRJA) convenor and candidate for Thang-meiband A/C, Erendro Leichonbam was attacked today by a group of people at Thangmeiband Sinam Leikai during the first phase of the 11th State Assembly election. Speaking to media persons at his residence at Hijam Dewan Leikai, Erendro said that the incident happened at around 11.30 am when he along with some of the party workers went to Thangmeiband Sinam Lei-kai during their visit to various polling stations of Thangmeiband AC. According to him, a group of people stopped his i10 car bearing number MN01 X4223 as soon as they reached Thangmeiband Sinam Leikai and began to vandalise the party’s flag adorning his car and even broke their whistles, which is the party’s symbol.

EC orders FIR against Manipur BJP office-bearers, 8 newspapers (Imphal Times)

Imphal, March 04 2017: The Election Commission (EC) on Friday ordered an FIR against office-bearers of the BJP’s Manipur unit and certain newspapers for publishing advertisements without its approval. In a letter to the Chief Electoral Officer of Manipur, the EC has ordered that the FIRs under Section 188 of IPC against be lodged against BJP state unit office-bearers and the newspapers which carried the advertisements on Friday in contravention of its orders and violation of RP Act. The EC had instructed all stakeholders to not publish any advertisements on 3 and 4 March without pre-screening and subsequent approval by state-level MCMC committee. The newspapers which carried the advertisements are: Sangai Express (Manipuri and English editions), Poknapham, People’s Chronicle, Naharolgi, Thoudang, Imphal Free Press, Echel Express and Huiyen Lanpao.

Lowest voter turnout in Saitu (Imphal Free Press)

The phase one poll of the state legislative assembly election in the three assembly constituencies of Kangpokpi district ended peacefully with the lowest turnout recorded at the two polling stations of Mayangkhang in Saitu. Voters queued since six in the morning at the polling stations located within the district headquarters. The polling went on peacefully without any untoward incidents.

NOTA finds favour in Khurai Lamlong (Imphal Free Press)

While the first phase of State Assembly election was conducted peacefully with some minor poll violence here and there, there are group of people who campaign for NOTA expressing their dissatisfaction against the candidate at Khurai Lamlong.

Manipur elections 2017: ‘Iron lady’ Irom Sharmila confident of victory (The Sangai Express / The Financial Express)

Irom Sharmila who cast her vote today at the Khurai constituency said that she is confident her party will win the elections. Irom Sharmila, Manipur’s icon launched her party People’s Resurgence and Justice Alliance last year in October after breaking her 16 years’ long fast. Sharmila, breaking her fast in October last year had said that she will continue her fight for the people of Manipur and she is only changing her strategy.

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