State polls begin with 7 deaths
The 11-phase assembly polls in seven states began in Manipur on Saturday with seven deaths and 82% polling. In Manipur hills, seven persons including presiding officer Kh Ibotombi, were killed in a shootout at the Thampi polling station in Chandel constituency. Sobhapati Samom reports. Manipur mandate 2012 | CM casts voteindia Updated: Jan 29, 2012 01:59 IST
The 11-phase assembly elections in seven states began in Manipur on Saturday with seven deaths and 82% polling.
Chief electoral officer PC Lawmkunga, however, said a final polling figure would be released once details from the state’s nine districts were received.
In Manipur hills, seven persons, including presiding officer Kh Ibotombi, were killed in a shootout at the Thampi polling station in Chandel constituency around 12.45pm.
In a separate incident, bombs suspected to have been planted by militants were seized and defused before the start of polling in Imphal East and West districts.
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.
Polling in the four valley districts, however, was peaceful and brisk despite reports of delay in polling at some booths, including the Thoubal constituency of chief minister O Ibobi Singh of the Congress. Ibobi said, “We’re expecting 35to 45 out of the 60 seats.”
The chief ministerial candidate of the opposition alliance led by the NCP, Radhabinod Koijam, who is contesting from Imphal West, contradicted Ibobi: “I’m very optimistic that the Congress will be thrown out because of misgovernance and the high level of corruption.”
Altogether, 279 candidates are in the fray this time. The All India Trinamool Congress has also fielded 47 candidates — the largest after the Congress’ 60.
A total of 12,967 polling personnel were deployed for the elections at 2,357 polling stations.