Manipur bypolls witness 70 percent voting

New Delhi: Manipur bypolls witnessed a tremendous 70 per cent voting as the two electorates of Thangmeiband and Thongju Assembly constituencies cast their votes to choose new representatives. Tight security was provided for the electorates as a general strike was imposed by the local militant outfits.

The State Election Commission informed that an estimated 70 per cent votes were cast till noon in the by-elections of both the assembly areas. Candidates and supporters were camping near the polling stations. Altogether 54,751 electorates are entitled to elect among the six candidates in the by-elections for which voting began from 7 AM today.

There were 26,537 electorates in Thangmeiband Assembly constituency, and an estimated 28,214 were entitled to cast their vote in Thongju Assembly segment, the State Election Commission said.

O Nabakishore, the Chief Electoral Officer in the region, said in an interview to a local newspaper that the elections were as supervised by flying police squads, surveillance and video teams.

Nabakishore further pointed out that the electorates without voter identity cards were also allowed to use their franchise by displaying any one of the 12 other identity proof documents accepted by the Election Commission of India such as the passport, driving licence, PAN card, smart card issued by Registrar General of India, pension document, passbook issued by bank, service ID, official ID issued to MPs and MLAs.

The number of male voters is lesser than the number of female voters in both the constituencies. A total number of 13,687 females were eligible to cast votes in Thangmeiband constituency while in Thongju a total of 14,564 females will cast their votes.

The by-polls took place due to vacancies created after the assembly Speaker tribunal removed three MLAs, namely, Thongam Biswajit Singh of Thongju and Khumukcham Joykishan of Thangmeiband and O Lukhoi of Wangoi, under the anti-defection law on May 28 last.

The militant outfit- United Revolutionary Front (Manipur Army) imposed a 12-hour bandh in Imphal East and Imphal West from 8 am to 8 today to boycott the by-polls, although the bandh did not affect the voter count.