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Second phase of Manipur polls today

By Correspondent

IMPHAL, March 7 - With the successful end of the first phase of the 11th Manipur Assembly elections with 86 percent voters� turn out without any major incident on Saturday, all eyes are on the final phase of polling for 22 Assembly constituencies in Manipur tomorrow.

Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) Vivek Kumar Dewangan told The Assam Tribune that the polling will be held at 1,151 polling stations spread across 10 valley and hill districts of the State, which will be manned by 5,755 polling personnel with adequate security personnel. The CEO also informed that all 375 polling stations in Thoubal and some in hill districts having internet connection will be covered by live web streaming to monitor activities inside the polling stations, while the other stations will be recorded (offline) by smart phones.

Altogether 7,77,121 voters, including 3,82,475 males and 3,94,464 females, are expected to exercise their rights.

The ruling Congress, which had won 42 (including 15 out of these 22 constituencies) in the 2012 Assembly elections, and opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which could not get a single seat in the last polls despite fielding 19 candidates, have fielded candidates in all the 22 seats. The Naga People� Front has put up 11 candidates, the National People�s Party 7, Trinamool Congress 6, Lok Jan Shakti 5, Manipur National Democratic Front 4, Independendent 9, CPI and State�s iconic rights activist Irom Sharmila�s PRJA 2 each, Manipur People�s Party and People�s Democratic Alliance one each.

Chief Minister O Ibobi Singh and Sharmila are contesting from Thoubal seat, while Deputy Chief Minister Gaikhangam is contesting with BJP�s Adim Panmei in Nungba. Similarly, Rural Development Minister M Okendro will be contesting with former IPS officer BJP�s Th Radheshyam in Heirok, Health Minister D Korungthang with BJP�s Yangkholet in Tengnoupal and Agriculture Minister Md Abdul Nasir with BJP�s Md Anwar Hussain in Lilong. Former Ministers Thoudam Debendra (Jiribam), Francis Ngajokpa (Tadubi), Samuel Jendai (Tamenglong), DD Thaisii (Karong) are also in the fray. Chief Minister�s son Surjakumar is contesting with BJP�s Th Jadumani from Khangabok in this phase.

Though the Left and Democratic Front, Manipur, comprising State units of CPI, CPI (Marxist), JD (United), Aam Aadmi Party, NCP and Manipur National Democratic Front, said they will play a key role in forming the next government in Manipur, the ruling Congress and BJP as per their calculations based on the first phase polls, claimed of forming the next government in the State.

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