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Panel turns down repoll plea

Imphal, May 13: With only three days to go before results, the Election Commission has turned down a plea by Manipurís Left and Secular Alliance to hold either a repoll or exclude from counting of votes polling stations in the Inner Manipur seat where more than 90 per cent polling was recorded.

The Election Commission informed the stateís chief electoral officer, O. Nabakishore Singh, that no more repoll would be held in Manipur and directed them to prepare for counting on May 16.

Official sources said the Election Commission decided not to consider the demand by the eight-party Manipur alliance for a repoll in these polling stations after examining reports of chief electoral officer O. Nabakishore Singh and election observers.

The Election Commission conveyed its decision after a delegation of the alliance, led by its common candidate Moirangthem Nara Singh, submitted a representation to the panel in the last week of April, seeking repoll in booths, which polled more than 90 per cent votes.

In the representation, the alliance stated that of the 1,256 polling stations in the Inner Manipur constituency, 112 polling stations polled more than 90 per cent while 26 polling stations polled more than 95 per cent.

The representation charged that more than 90 per cent polling could be possible because of proxy voting or rigging. The alliance also charged that the ruling party ó the Congress ó committed largescale proxy voting in the Inner Manipur seat.

The BJP candidate in the Inner Manipur seat, R.K. Ranjan Singh, also alleged electoral malpractice by the Congress.

The Congress fielded sitting MPs Thagnso Baite in the Outer Manipur seat and Thokchom Meinya Singh in the Inner Manipur constituency. While Thangso is seeking re-election for the second time, Meinya Singh is hoping to represent the seat for the third consecutive term.

Meinya Singh is facing a tough fight from Nara Singh while Thangso Baite is in a triangular fight. The two other main contenders for the Outer Manipur seat are Soso Lorho of the NPF and Chungkhokai Doungel of the NCP.

The sources said the Election Commission intimated the state election office that nothing wrong was found in these polling stations, as alleged during an inquiry by the observers of the commission.

The Outer Manipur seat went to the polls on April 9 while polling was held in the Inner Manipur constituency on April 17.

The state election authority is fully prepared for the counting which will be watched over by 18 observers appointed by the poll panel for the counting.

Prohibitory orders were clamped around the offices of the Inner Manipur returning officer, K. Radhakumar, and the Outer Manipur returning officer, T. Ranjit Singh.