82 percent turnout in Manipur poll, 7 killed by militants

82 percent turnout in Manipur poll, 7 killed by militants

Imphal, Jan 28 (PTI) An 82 per cent of the electorate today exercised their franchise in Manipur assembly elections marred by militants' violence that claimed five lives and left two injured.

Chief electoral offficer P C Lawmkunga said as per preliminary official reports, 82 per cent of the 17.40 lakh electorate cast votes but details from the nine districts in the state were yet to be received.

A CRPF man, three Village Volunteer Force personnel and a civilian were killed and two injured when miliants attacked an polling station in an interior area in Sugnu assembly constituency in Chandel district, official sources said.

However, Lawmkunga said a voter, his supporter and a security man were killed in an exchange of fire at the Dampi polling station in the district.

Bombs suspected to have been planted by militants were seized and defused before the start of polling in Khurai Chingangbam area, Sawombung High School, Khomidok in Imphal
East district and Naoremthong High School area in Imphal West district, official sources said.

Two CRPF personnel on poll duty were killed in an ambush by militants in Ukhrul district yesterday, the sources said.

The fate of Chief Minister O Ibobi Singh (Thoubal), Forest Minister and Congress leader Th Debendra (Jiribam), Congress nominee and Speaker I Hemochandra Singh (Shingjamei), former chief minister and NCP chief Radhabinod Koijam (Thangmeiband), Manipur people's party (MPP) leader and former deputy chief minister] L Chandramani Singh (Patsoi), were sealed in EVMs.

A total of 279 candidates were in the fray.

A total of 12,967 polling personnel were deployed for the elections at 2,357 polling stations.

Around 350 companies of security personnel including 270 central para military force personnel were deployed besides the state armed police. A helicopter was also kept on standby for emergencies.

The run-up to the election witnessed several militant attacks.

A coordination committee of seven major militant groups had called for a ban on all election meetings and campaigning by Congress candidates.

Congress and its partner CPI, which comprise the ruling Secular Progressive Front, fought separately. While Congress contested all the 60 seats, CPI did so in 24.

Trinamool Congress, which has one legislator and is an ally of Congress in West Bengal contested in 47 seats on its own.

Peoples Democratic Front, an opposition five-party alliance comprising Manipur Peoples Party, NCP, CPI-M, Janata Dal (U) and RJD, contested 43 seats.

BJP fielded candidates in 19 seats and Manipur State Congress Party (MSCP) in 34. Manipur unit of Nagaland-based party, Naga Peoples Front (NPF), contested in 12 constituencies in the hills.

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