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Manipur 2022: YCM team finds higher voter turnout in constituencies with candidates having money and muscle power


Among 10 constituencies with highest voter turnout, 9 constituencies have 19 crorepatis; while the remaining one constituency is constituted of ethnic community that was allegedly intimidated by a militant group to vote for a particular party on the eve of election.

TFM Desk

People’s Election Monitoring (PEM) team of (YCM) on Wednesday stated that voter turnout in the just concluded 1st phase Manipur election was higher in Assembly Constituencies were contesting candidates were known to have “money and muscle power”.

A release issued by Thongam Zingo, Coordinator, People’s Election Monitoring team stated that Manipur witnessed a remarkable voter turnout in the first phase of Manipur-2022-Election on 28 February. ECI reported a turnout of 78.03%. YCM monitors observed 266 polling stations in 14 out of 38 constituencies that held elections.

“It is unfortunate that the Election Day also turned out to be violent. Violence was reported in and around the premises of several polling stations causing much public dismay. Reports include terrifying incidents of gunfire in close vicinity of polling stations, blank firing by security personnel on election duty to disperse attempted booth capture, damage of EVM-VVPAT inside the polling station as well as on the way from the polling booths to the strong rooms, aggression among party workers due to alleged proxy voting and voter disenfranchisement, display of party flags and posters in close vicinity of polling stations in violation of MCC”, said PEM-YCM.

PEM-YCM also alleged that certain armed groups reportedly voted on behalf of an entire village by preventing voters themselves from voting. There were also instances of voters finding their votes already cast by someone else when they went to the polling booth. A victimized voter was finally allowed to cast a tender vote after his protest video of such denial of voting rights and proxy voting went viral in the media, said the release.

The independent monitoring team also found out that there were also reports of refraining agents of opposition political parties by threatening and intimidating them from observing polling booths. Several polling booths reportedly conducted voting with agents from only one political party observing. A dramatic case in Saitu AC was the arrest of a candidate from the main opposition party who was later released on bail at mid-night. Several political parties including INC, NPP, JDU and the Shiv Sena staged protests demanding repoll in some constituencies.

EVM-VVPAT malfunctioning was reportedly widespread. Our monitors reported confusion and anger it caused among voters present at the polling stations. According to ECI, EVM-VVPAT was damaged in 7 polling stations by unknown miscreants.

An observation made by YCM during the polling found out that there was higher voter turnout in constituencies with “money and muscle power”. Among 10 constituencies with highest voter turnout, 9 constituencies have 19 crorepati; while the remaining 1 constituency is constituted of ethnic community that was intimidated by a militant group to vote for a particular party on the eve of election.

Death of two officials on poll duty draws concern of safety measures and precautions provided to officials on duty. This matter must be dealt with utmost urgency to avoid such grave incidents on the upcoming 5 March poll day. To ensure safety and security of poll personnel performing their duty in the field in challenging conditions by the concerned officials, so that they can effectively perform their duties is an integral part of conducting free and fair elections, said PEM-YCM.

“It is unfortunate that long queues and waiting time was observed widely at many polling stations. Voters expressed anger over the issue and also reports of daily wage work being affected. YCM hopes that no voters who came out to vote returned without casting ballots due to long queues and waiting time”, said the monitoring team.

“Vote buying was reported to be rampant on Election Day as well. From the information gathered from voters in general, the modus-operandi of vote buying seems rather sophisticated. Local terms associated with vote buying in Manipur are list, ani-chabi, assessment/ fixed, flying, awangba, faaba, and kayano describing assured voter categories against those not; and means to lure voters on the election day for a candidate. Many drunken voters were also seen coming to cast their votes in several polling station”, said the release.

It was also observed that COVID-19 protocols were not strictly enforced in most of the polling stations visited. It is necessary that stakeholders take precautions to prevent escalation of cases due to election and related activities.

PEM-YCM exuded confidence that all stakeholders will enforce a non-violent, free and fair Manipur-2022-Election in the upcoming second phase on March 5, 2022.

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