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Search operation before Rahul trip

- Manipur steps up vigil for Congress leader’s election campaign

Imphal, March 15: Police commandos today conducted house-to-house search in residential areas around the venue of Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi’s election campaign meeting in Manipur.

Rahul is coming to Manipur on the fourth day of the Yaoshang festival (Holi) to campaign for the party’s two sitting MPs. He will address an election rally at Kodompokpi ground in Thoubal district, 23km from here on March 19.

A senior police officer said police commando teams had carried out house-to-house search at two residential areas located on the eastern side of the meeting venue this morning.

“We conducted house-to-house search operations to ferret out militants as a part of the security measures for the visit and election meeting of the Congress leader,” the officer said.

The police teams, led by the additional superintendent of police, Thoubal district, S. Ibomcha, entered into more than 200 houses at Wangjing Wangkhei Sanabam Leirak and neighbouring Moirangmayum Leirak during the 90-minute operation, looking for “unwanted elements.”

The police commandos, however, did not pick up anyone during the combing operations. “We did not find any militant,” the police officer said.

The teams called out all family members present at the time of the operation at the courtyards of their houses and verified their identities.

Police sources said such routine operations would continue around the residential areas till the election rally day. “In addition to the routine operations, frisking and patrolling were intensified in the Wangjing area, particularly areas around the meeting venue, the sources said.

This will be the only election rally to be addressed by Rahul in Manipur for the Congress.

The Congress in the state is gearing up for Rahul’s visit. Chief minister Okram Ibobi Singh is elected from Thoubal district where the meeting venue is located. The chief minister is taking serious interest in the rally as he plans to draw a huge crowd like the one at the BJP rally at Langjing Achouba ground in Imphal West where BJP’s prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi addressed an election rally last month.

Ibobi Singh has instructed the home department to take adequate security measures for the Congress leader’s visit.

The chief electoral officer, Manipur, O. Nabakishore Singh, today issued a notification for Outer Manipur, a seat reserved for Scheduled Tribes.

The last date of filing nominations for the April 9 election is March 22, scrutiny is on March 24 and the last date for withdrawal of nominations is March 26.