The Mirror of Manipur || Fast, Factual and Fearless.

Manipur 2022: EVM destruction, allegations of malpractices, scuffles mark first phase


Polling that took place at 1,721 stations of 38 Assembly Constituencies in the first phase was by and large peaceful, says chief electoral officer Rajesh Agrawal

TFM Desk

Soon after voting for the first phase of the 12th Manipur Legislative Assembly election began on Monday, reports of sporadic incidents violence and alleged malpractices emerged from some assembly segments. However, polling that took place at 1,721 polling stations of 38 Assembly Constituencies in the first phase was by and large peaceful, says chief electoral officer Rajesh Agrawal.

Major violence was reported at 51/46 New Keithelmanbi Police Station under 51-Saitu AC after scuffles broke out between the BJP and INC supporters at around 9:30 am. According to Congress supporters, “the BJP candidate along with his henchmen were indulging in booth capturing and proxy voting under the very nose of the presiding officer and the returning officer”.

On getting the information, INC candidate Lamtinthang Haokip rushed to the polling station to take stock of the situation. His supporters accused the BJP supporters of indulging in vote rigging and other electoral malpractices at 51/46 the polling station. Though Lamtinthang Haokip’s polling agents reported the matter to the Presiding Officer, he failed to initiate any action, they alleged. Besides, voter slips were not provided to the INC supporters as the village chief of New Keithelmanbi and BJP candidate supporters had already captured the voter’s slips since yesterday night, they added.

However, the BJP alleged that Lamtinthang Haokip along with his associates vandalized the EVM and other polling equipment. Armed with deadly weapons, they forcefully entered the polling area at 51/46 polling station and created a riot-like situation and law and order issue, they claimed.

Meanwhile, Lamtinthang Haokip’s supporters have imposed a flash bandh along National Highway 2 after he was arrested for allegedly destroying EVM. His supporters were seen burning tyres and blocking the highway demanding his unconditional release. Election Commission ordered re-poll in new Keithelmanbi PS following an incident of poll disruption.

Allegations of electoral malpractices were reported in various constituencies, including chief minister N Biren Singh’s Heingang AC. In Heingang Assembly constituency, Congress candidate Pangeijam Saratchandra Singh alleged that the chief minister’s workers intimidated his authorised polling agents and did not allow them to be present at 11 polling stations.

Saratchandra said that he will urge the Election Commission of India and CEO, Manipur to conduct a repoll in these polling stations. He also expressed dismay over the manner in which such incidents have happened in the chief minister’s constituency.

In Wangkhei AC, a Booth Level Officer (BLO) sustained injuries after supporters of BJP candidate O Henry and JD(U) candidate Th Arunkumar clashed over alleged proxy voting by BJP workers.

The incident happened at polling station 15/13-Kabo Leikai Nongpok (C) located at RK Sanatombi Vidyalaya Primary School, North.

Arunkumar alleged that the BLO of the polling station in connivance with the inner agents of BJP had negotiated and exercised proxy voting. A complaint has been filed with the election authorities and a request has been made for a repoll in the said polling station, he said.

Meanwhile, NPP candidate for Keirao AC, Md Nasiruddin Khan also urged the CEO, Manipur to conduct a repoll in eight polling stations.  He alleged that his authorised polling agents were not allowed to enter these polling stations by workers of incumbent BJP MLA Lourembam Rameshwor Meetei. Security personnel had to resort to fire in the air at one of the polling stations in Keirao AC – 6/32 Punal Maring Polling Station – after a scuffle broke out between supporters of NPP and BJP.

Destructions of EVMs were reported in as many as seven polling stations – 46/54-Leplen under 46-Saikul AC; 51/46-New Keithelmanbi under 51-Saitu AC; 56/10-Maite and 56/19-Tinsuong under 56-Thanlon AC; 57/49- Leinom under 57-Henglep AC; 60/10-M.T. Geltam and 60/43-Maukot under 60-Singhat AC. FIRs have been registered in all these cases.

Polling for 60/10-M.T. Geltam under Singhat AC and 46/54- Leplen under 46-Saikul AC commenced with new sets of machines and polling continued.

The sound of gunshots was heard at Charhajare Polling Station but it could not be ascertained who fired and the reason behind the firing.

Interestingly, in the Andro Assembly segment, which had witnessed pre-poll violence, voting took place without any major incidents.

38 assembly constituencies went to poll on Monday and the remaining 22 constituencies will vote in the second phase on March 5, 2022.

You might also like
Leave A Reply

Your email address will not be published.