IMPHAL, Jan 23 � Campaigning in the 20 hill constituencies for the forthcoming elections to the 60-member Manipur Assembly has been at its peak, but it has not picked up a similar tempo in other parts of the State.
In stark contrast to the low-key campaigning in the 40 constituencies in the valley, there is hectic electioneering in the 20 hill constituencies.
Colourful banners, public meetings, flag hoisting by various political parties and community feasts have become a feature of campaigning in the hill districts.
Lack of public rallies have become a feature in the 40 districts but in contrast several leaders including Nagaland Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio, are on their campaign trail in the hilly areas, including in the prestigious Ukhrul Assembly seat.
In the Ukhrul constituency, Danny Shaija, a sitting candidate, who was an independent candidate in the last elections, is now contesting on a BJP ticket and locked in a multi-cornered contest against Alfred Kangam Arthur of the Congress, Aleng A S Shimray of NCP and S Somatai of All India Trinamool Congress.
At a recent public meeting in Tangkhul Naga Long ground here, Rio urged the people to support the Nagaland People�s Front (NPF) backed independent candidates in the hilly districts dominated by the Naga community.
�We will work for better governance and remove the misunderstanding between the Manipuri and Naga communities�, he said.
Okise Huma, a government employee from Ukhrul Assembly constituency, said that despite the restriction imposed by the Election Commission, candidates have engaged themselves in aggressive poll campaigning and voters have turned out in large numbers to greet them.
�We are not aware about which party is expected to win the poll, but people here are enjoying the run up to the election,� he said.
Meanwhile, Manipur Chief Electoral Officer P C Lawkumga has said that 60,000 �bogus voters who managed to enrol themselves forcibly in the voters list will not be allowed to cast their ballot in the hill districts�.
�We will not allow them to cast their votes at different places and ensure strict orders to prevent duplication of votes,� he said.
Admitting that some election observers have not yet reached the interior polling stations in the remote hill districts, Lawkumga said, �Attempts are being made to trace out two Congress party supporters who were kidnapped by militants from the Senapati district�. � PTI