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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.

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BJP opens account in Manipur assembly, wins two seats in by-polls


Imphal: The BJP on Tuesday opened its account in the Manipur assembly by winning by-elections in two assembly constituencies, polling for which were held on November 21.

Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) candidates Thongam Biswajit Singh and Khumukcham Joykishan won the Thongju and Thangmeiband seats respectively, defeating candidates of the ruling Congress, an election official said.

The by-elections were necessitated after Assembly Speaker Th. Lokeshwar Singh disqualified All India Trinamool Congress legislators – Thongam Biswajit Singh, Khumukcham Joykishan and Lukhoi Singh – under the anti-defection law on May 28.

However, the Manipur High Court stayed the speaker’s order on Lukhoi Singh, who represents Wangoi constituency.

In Thangmeiband, Joykishan defeated nearest rival Jyotin Waikhom by 1,907 votes. An 85 percent voter turnout was recorded in the segment.

The former Trinamool Congress legislator polled 12,104 votes while Waikhom secured 10,197 votes.

In Thongju, which recorded 92 percent voter turnout, Biswajit defeated nearest rival Bijoy Koijam of the Congress by 3,213 votes. Biswajit secured 14,606 votes and Koijam 11,393 votes. Seventy-eight voters opted for ‘None of The Above’.

“There has been no significant development in the state under Okram Ibobi Singh government. People in both assembly constituencies have rightly rejected the Congress through these by-elections,” Manipur BJP president Th. Chaoba Singh told IANS.

Chaoba said BJP workers would now prepare a roadmap for the 2017 assembly elections in Manipur so as to ensure sustainable peace and development in the state bordering Myanmar, which is plagued by prolonged insurgency.

Reacting to the loss, the Congress said it was “deeply concerned” over the defeat in three by-elections in Manipur and Meghalaya. Hill State People’s Democratic Party won the seat by defeating the Congress in Meghalaya.

“Although our candidates lost in the by-elections (in Meghalaya and Manipur) by narrow margins, we are deeply concerned. We will soon sit down and analyse our defeat to the BJP, especially in Manipur,” Congress leader V. Narayanasamy told IANS over the phone.

“We will take all steps to get all secular parties together to prevent communal forces from forming the next government in the north-eastern states,” he said.

In the 60-member assembly, ruling Congress has 48 members, Trinamool Congress and Naga People’s Front four members each, and Lok Janshakti Party and Nationalist Congress Party one member each. The BJP now has two members.