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EC snubs parties, orders repoll in one booth

Imphal, April 21: The Election Commission has ordered repoll in one polling station in Inner Manipur constituency, ignoring demands from the BJP and the CPI for repoll in several booths, alleging rigging by the Congress during polling for the Lok Sabha seat on April 17.

State election officials said repoll would be held tomorrow in Moijing polling station, which falls under chief minister Okram Ibobi Singh’s Thoubal Assembly constituency, after the station polled more than 100 per cent votes. While 31/1 Moijing (A) has 771 voters on the electoral roll, 773 votes were cast.

Re-polling will be held at Moijing from 7am to 4pm under tight security.

Thoubal district election officer T. Ranjit suspended the booth’s presiding officer E. Khogen, a government schoolteacher, for “dereliction of duty”.

The Election Commission did not entertain the BJP’s complaints of rigging by the Congress in 16 polling stations in Thoubal, Khundrakpam and Andro Assembly constituencies.

BJP president Thounaojam Chaoba Singh said these polling stations registered 90 to 98 per cent polling. “The near hundred per cent polling in these stations makes it clear that those rigging the polls also cast votes for those voters who were on poll duty elsewhere and those studying outside Manipur,” he alleged.

Chaoba Singh said his party would again approach the Election Commission to press for not counting votes in the 16 polling stations it had listed.

“The poll percentages in these polling stations are abnormally high while the voter turnout in a majority of the polling stations was not very high,” Chaoba Singh said.

The overall poll percentage in Inner Manipur seat was 75.01 per cent.

“When we visited these polling stations, we did not see any queue of voters. The Congress used muscle power to rig the polls. It is because of this fact that poll percentages in these 16 polling stations are high," R.K. Ranjan Singh, the BJP candidate for Inner Manipur, alleged.

The CPI’s demand for repoll in one polling station each in Thoubal and Lamsang Assembly constituencies, where it alleged rigging by the Congress, was not accepted either.

Independent candidate Indira Oinam blamed voters for rigging by the Congress.

“Since a large number of voters did not turn up to cast their votes, the Congress took advantage and cast votes in favour of its candidate Thokchom Meinya Singh. Had the voters come, the Congress could not have rigged the polls,” he alleged.


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