Polling for the second and final phase of assembly elections for 22 seats in Manipur ended on Wednesday with over 86% voter turnout. Over 86% polling was recorded in the first phase as well for 38 seats.
Sporadic incidents of violence between workers of rival political candidates were reported from some polling booths.
Five people, including two women, were injured in a blast near Kasturi Bridge in Imphal West district on Wednesday at 6:15 pm. More details are awaited.
Fate of 98 candidates including chief minister Okram Ibobi Singh and rights activist Irom Sharmila, who is contesting against Singh 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,” Singh said after casting his ballot in Thoubal. “We will get at least 36 seats”.
Sharmila who is contesting on a Peoples Resurgence and Justice Alliance (PRJA) ticket went to most polling stations in the constituency and interacted with voters, especially women.
“The response of the people is positive,” she said.
Other prominent candidates in the fray for the final phase are deputy chief minister G Gaikhangam and state Congress president TN Haokip. Three women candidates are also in the fray, besides Sharmila.
Voting started around 7am at 1,151 polling stations on Wednesday. Over 12% of people cast their votes within the first hour.
Polling booth officer dies
A polling booth official, wounded in bomb blasts by militants near the India-Myanmar border in Kamjong district of Manipur on Tuesday evening, died on Wednesday.
This is the first instance of poll-related casualty in Manipur this year.
According to the state election office, poll official H Ramkating, who used to work as an assistant teacher in a primary school in Ukhrul district, was njured in the blast which went off near in Ashang Khullen village.
In a separate incident, an angry mob torched motorbikes parked inside former Congress minister and National People’s Party (NPP) candidate Phungzathang Tonsing’s house in Churachandpur in post-poll violence on Tuesday evening.
The election commission has announced re-poll for 34 polling stations where voting took place on March 4. Re-poll will take place on March 9.