Polling for the second and final phase of assembly elections for 22 seats in Manipur began on Wednesday amid incidents of violence.
Fate of 98 candidates, including chief minister Okram Ibobi Singh and rights activist Irom Sharmila, who is contesting against him from Thoubal, will be decided by 7.77 lakh voters in this phase.
“We will get a clear mandate. This election is something like a referendum, both in the hills and the valley,” CM Singh told ANI after casting his ballot in Thoubal early morning.
Other prominent candidates in the fray for the final phase are deputy CM G Gaikhangam and state Congress president TN Haokip. Besides Sharmila, three other women candidates are also in the fray.
A poll official and two Assam Rifles ‘jawans’ were injured in two IED blasts in Aishi and Ashang Khullen villages in the Phungyar constituency of poll-bound Kamjong district on Tuesday afternoon.
In a separate incident, former Congress minister and National People’s Party (NPP) candidate Phungzathang Tonsing’s house in Churachandpur was torched by an angry mob in post-poll violence on Tuesday evening.
Voting will take place at 1,151 polling stations in 10 valley and hill districts of the state. Nearly 6,000 security personnel are manning the polling booths.
The first phase of polling for 38 seats on March 4 had witnessed a high voter turnout of 86%.
The election commission has announced re-polling at 34 polling stations where voting took place on March 4. Re-polling will be held on March 9.