Polling for the first phase of Manipur Assembly elections began in 38 constituencies spread across five districts including Imphal East, Imphal West, Bishnupur, Churachandpur, and Kangpokpi on Monday. The polling began at 7 am and will conclude at 4 pm today. The voters who are COVID positive or are under quarantine will be allowed to vote at the last hour, between 3 pm to 4 pm.
The polling officials and securities for the first phase have reached their respective polling stations. “Security personnel is present in large numbers from Assam and Manipur, smooth polling is expected”, said Presiding Officer, Dr Syed Ahmed. A total of 173 candidates, including 15 females, are in the fray for the poll scheduled for today.
Manipur Chief Minister N Biren Singh is contesting from his traditional home seat, Heingang constituency of Imphal East. Notably, the Chief Minister is seeking the fifth term in Manipur. PWD Minister Thongam Biswajit Singh who had joined the BJP in 2015 is contesting polls from the Thongju Assembly seat, whereas Govindas Konthoujam Singh who recently joined BJP is fighting from the Bishenpur constituency.
The BJP formed the government in Manipur in 2017 with the support of the National People’s Party (NPP), Naga People’s Front (NPF) and the Lok Janshakti Party (LJP). However, this time the BJP decided to go solo and is contesting all 60 seats alone.
On the other hand, Congress has formed an alliance of six political parties and named it Manipur Progressive Secular Alliance (MPSA). The coalition partners in MPSA include Congress, Communist Party of India (CPI), Communist Party of India (Marxist), Forward Bloc, Revolutionary Socialist Party (RSP) and Janata Dal (Secular).
In the 2017 Manipur Assembly elections, Congress emerged as the single largest party winning 28 seats followed by the BJP which settled with 21 seats. The National People’s Party (NPP) and Naga People’s Front (NPF) bagged four seats each while the Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) managed to secure only one constituency. BJP bagged 36.28 per cent vote share while Congress received 35.11 per cent of the total vote.
Later, BJP stitched a coalition with the NPP, NPF and LJP to form the government under the leadership of Biren Singh.
The high-octane poll campaigning in Manipur came to an end on Saturday. Elections for the 60-member Manipur Assembly are taking place in two phases, that is, February 28 and March 5. As many as 38 seats will go to the polls in the first phase while voting in 22 constituencies will take place in the second phase.