Manipur reported a voter turnout of 78.03 per cent till 5 pm on Monday in the first phase of polling in 38 out of 60 Assembly constituencies.
Barring a few attempts of rigging in Churachandpur and Kangpokpi districts, polling in over 1,700 stations in five districts was by and large peaceful even as there was an apprehension of poll-related violence.
Governor La Ganeshan and CM N Biren Singh were among the first who cast their votes before 9 am on Monday. The turnout in the morning hours was less with only 27.34 per cent polling reported till 11 am. The polling, however, picked up in the afternoon.
The office of Chief Electoral Officer, Manipur said Kangpokpi reported the highest turnout of 82.97 per cent polling followed by 82.19 per cent in Imphal West, 76.64 per cent in Imphal East, 74.45 per cent in Churachandpur and 73.44 per cent in Bishnupur districts.
The poll percentage will increase as those who queued up outside the polling stations till 4 pm were still casting their votes.
CM Biren Singh, senior minister Thounajam Biswajit Singh, senior leader Konthoujam Govindas of BJP and deputy Chief Minister Y. Joykumar Singh of National People's Party (NPP) were the prominent names among 173 candidates contesting in the first phase of elections.
Both BJP and Congress focussed more on the first phase as the two parties had won 18 and 16 out of 38 seats respectively in the 2017 Assembly elections.
After casting his vote in Heingang constituency, Biren Singh exuded confidence that BJP would win at least 30 seats in the first phase.
The BJP, which is leading the coalition government since 2017, is contesting in all 60 seats and is eying an absolute majority to form the government for the second time. The Imphal Valley, where polling was conducted today, is a BJP stronghold.
Congress, on the other hand, has fielded candidates in 54 seats and has stitched an alliance with five smaller parties including the lefts. In 2017, Congres had emerged as the single largest party with 28 seats but BJP managed to form the government with the help of NPP and Naga People's Front (NPF). Congress was in power for three terms at a stretch between 2002 and 2017.
Both NPP and JD (U), an ally of BJP have put up 38 candidates each and have set a target to emerge as the single largest party this time. NPF is fighting in 10 seats in the hills region, where polling will be conducted in the second and final phase on March 5.
Security was tightened in view of violence since Friday night that included a bomb blast in Churanchandpur and firing on a JD (U) candidate in Imphal East district.
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