Despite the ongoing blockade of the two National Highways, Manipur on Saturday recorded 84 per cent peaceful polling in the first phase.
Dewangan also said that the exact turnout will only be known after the arrival of the polling officials from the remote and interior hill areas, adding that they will be airlifted only on Sunday evening. Polling stations with defective EVMs functioned long after 3 pm, the official closing time. Of the total 1,643 polling stations, where polling was being held on Saturday, 837 polling stations have been identified as hyper sensitive and 529 as sensitive by the Election Commission (EC). While voters were seen swarming in the polling booths across all the five districts, namely Bishnupur, Churachandpur, Imphal East, Imphal West and Senapati, but the voter turnout figure amid all chaos the state has been engulfed in, underlines the confidence of the people in the Indian democratic system. The seventh and final phase elections will take place on March 8.
The ruling Congress government will obviously aim to continue ruling in the state, but it seems all the opposition parties have chose to oust the Congress from Manipur.
Only the Congress and BJP are locked in straight fight in three constituencies-Sekmai, Nambol and Mayang Imphal in the first round of the elections. Around 2 lakh security personnel, including over 700 companies of Central forces, have been deployed in this phase of polling.
In all, 168 candidates are contesting in the first phase.
Apart from Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi, no other party leader from Delhi were visible in the campaign. The candidates will be contesting for 49 Assembly seats including that of Azamgarh, Gorakhpur and Mou.More news: Lisa Kudrow Admits There Was A Secret 'Friends' Reunion!
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In another incident, some unidentified persons opened fire at the house of Yumkham Erabot, a former Congress minister and now a BJP candidate at 3.20 a.m.
In the fray in the penultimate phase are many state leaders, including BJP's Swamy Prasad Maurya (Padrauna seat), former UP BJP chief Surya Pratap Shahi (Pathardeva), BJP's Gorakhpur MP Mahant Adityanath and Mukhtar Ansari, the don-turned-politician contesting the Mau seat from behind the bars.
The seven districts that went to the polls in the sixth phase of the elections comprised Gorakhpur, Deoria, Maharajganj, Kushinagar, Balia, Mau and Azamgarh.
Rights activists Irom Sharmila cast her vote at a polling booth of Khurai assembly constituency.
As per reports, the Phase 1 assembly elections in Manipur were held peacefully, unlike the 2012 election where attacks reportedly killed 5.
In this first phase election BJP is fielding candidates in all the 38 assembly constituencies while the ruling congress could field only in 37 assembly constituencies.