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Manipur polls: More than 2,000 ultras to cast votes

By Sobhapati Samom

IMPHAL, March 2 - Altogether 2,228 underground cadres belonging to various armed groups who are under Suspension of Operation (SoO) and Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Government will cast their votes through postal ballot at 14 designated camps across Manipur.

This was disclosed by Manipur Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) Vivek Kumar Dewangan while announcing the close of campaigning at 3 pm on Thursday for the first phase of the Assembly election. As a result, election campaigns such as public rallies, public meetings and use of loud speakers stand prohibited.

Addressing a press conference here, Dewangan said that the voting for 38 Assembly constituencies out of 60 seats will be held at 1,643 polling stations. The voting for the first phase election will be held from 7 am to 3 pm on March 4.

�For the first time, student volunteers of NCC, NSS and Bharat Scouts and Guides will render assistance during the election. Special arrangements have been made for senior citizens and differently-abled voters.

He said that 280 companies of Central Paramilitary Forces and State Armed Forces from Assam, Odisha and Uttar Pradesh will be used during the election. Out of this, 30 Companies will be deployed for ROP duty on National Highways. State police will not be used at the polling stations.

He also informed that special teams have been deployed to check borders of the State to prohibit movement of liquor, narcotic substances and to check infiltration.

Joint CEO Hrisheekesh Modak said, for the first time, 100 per cent web streaming will be done in all the polling stations which will be tracked using GIS. Flying squads will be tracked using GPS to check their status.

State Nodal Officer (Observer & Media/Communication) Ng Uttam Singh said advertisements in print and electronic media is prohibited in and around the polling area, poll analysis or exit poll is not allowed until 5 pm of March 8 . Pre-poll analysis or opinion poll is also prohibited before 48-hours of first phase of election.

Newmai News adds: The campaign period was marred by incidences of violence among workers of rival candidates in different parts of the State. The main contenders of the two-phase polls will be the Congress and BJP.

In the first phase election, a total of 168 candidates from 38 constituencies are in the fray. The second phase is scheduled to take place on March 8.

Pre-poll violent incidents were reported from different places in Imphal triggering protests. Some unidentified people opened fire at a polling station at Wangkhei Angom Leikai today around 4.30 am.

Unknown people planted a bomb near the office of Sagolband Development Association located at Sagolband Moirang Leirak around 9.30 pm yesterday.

Yet again last night, the residence of BJP Yuva Morcha Manipur Pradesh vice-president M Bali Sharma was attacked by some miscreants. BJP is fielding candidates in all the 38 constituencies while Congress has put up 37. The results of the two-phase elections will be declared on March 11.

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