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Manipur ready for two-phase poll

Imphal/Aizawl, March 5: Manipur chief electoral officer O. Nabakishore Singh today announced that they were fully prepared to hold trouble-free polls to the two Lok Sabha seats from the state.

Immediately after the Election Commission’s announcement this morning, Singh announced the details of the election process for the Outer Manipur and Inner Manipur parliamentary constituencies.

Outer Manipur, comprising five hill districts and eight constituencies in the valley, will go to the polls in the first phase on April 9, while Inner Manipur will vote on April 17.

The last date of filing nomination papers is March 22 for Outer Manipur, while it is March 26 for Inner Manipur. The last date for withdrawal of nomination is March 26 for Outer Manipur and March 29 for Inner Manipur.

“We hope the commission will provide the required paramilitary forces,” Singh said, without giving details of the strength sought. In January, the chief electoral officer had sought an additional 150 companies of central paramilitary forces.

According to the final electoral roll published in January, there are 17,47,889 voters including 8,86,473 women. The total number of polling stations is 2,662. “After publication of the final roll, 13,000 voters left out applied for inclusion again. The process will continue till the last date of filing of nomination papers,” Singh said.

He said booth-level officers would hold a daylong camp on March 9 in all polling stations to give those left out a chance to get their names enrolled. Political parties in Manipur have welcomed the election dates fixed by the poll panel.

M. Asnikumar, convener of the BJP election campaign committee, said his party welcomed the two-phase election.

H. Nabashyam, spokesperson for Manipur People’s Party, said, “The party welcomes the announcement.”

Senior Congress leader and MLA N. Biren Singh said his party was not worried about the polling schedule. “The Congress is ready to go to polls any day. We do not see much of a problem in retaining both seats,” he said.

Mizoram readiness

In Aizawl, Mizoram chief electoral officer Ashwani Kumar today said the electronic voting machines manufactured by BHEL would replace those used in the last Assembly po-lls, manufactured by Electronics Corporation of India Ltd.

The decision was taken after a petition filed by the Opposition Mizo National Front in Gauhati High Court alleging the EVMs were tampered with. Altogether 1,716 EVMs for 1,126 polling stations have been ordered from BHEL.

He said election to the lone Lok Sabha seat (Mizoram) and bypoll to the Hrangturzo Assembly seat would both be held on April 9. Chief minister Lal Thanhawla vacated the Hrangturzo seat he won in the 2013 Assembly polls in addition to Serchhip.

Opposition parties in Mizoram are yet to finalise any pre-poll alliance. “We are trying to work out an united front comprising all Opposition parties. The picture will be clear by next week,” Zoramthanga, chief of the largest Opposition party, the MNF, told The Telegraph.

He said the third round of talks would be held tomorrow to finalise the alliance. Besides the MNF, the Zoram Nationalist Party led by former Lok Sabha MP Lalduhoma, Mizoram People’s Conference, the Nationalist Congress Party and the BJP, will take part in the talks.

Arunachal reaction

Arunachal Pradesh, which had two seats, had welcomed the poll schedule with sitting Congress MP Takam Sanjoy and his arch-rival, K. Rijiju, from the BJP saying dates were not an issue at all. Both seats are now held by the Congress. Elections are slated for April 9 in the state.

THE ROSTER

Election schedule of constituencies

April 7: Tripura West, Tezpur, Kaliabor, Jorhat, Dibrugarh, Lakhimpur
April 9: Arunachal West, Arunachal East, Outer Manipur , Tura, Shillong,
Mizoram, Nagaland
April 12: Tripura East, Karimganj, Silchar,
Autonomous District (Diphu)
April 24: Dhubri, Kokrajhar, Barpeta, Gauhati, Mangaldoi, Nagaon