Polling in the first phase of assembly elections in Manipur today began at 7 AM on Monday in 38 constituencies spread across five districts with strict adherence to COVID-19 protocols. As many as 12,09,439 voters are eligible to exercise their franchise to elect their representatives from among 173 candidates, including 15 women, across 1,721 polling stations.
The prominent candidates in the fray include Chief Minister and BJP candidate N Biren Singh, Assembly Speaker Y Khemchand Singh, Deputy Chief Minister and NPP candidate Yumnam Joykumar and Manipur Congress president N Lokesh Singh.
Of the 38 seats, 10 constituencies are in Imphal East, 13 in Imphal West, six each in Bishnupur and Churachandpur, and three in Kangpokpi district.
Manipur Chief Electoral Officer Rajesh Agarwal has said that out of the total 173 candidates, 39 have criminal antecedents.
The BJP has fielded candidates in all the 38 seats, followed by Congress with 35 contestants, NPP with 27, JD (U) with 28, Shiv Sena with seven, RPI (Athawale) with six, LJP (Ram Vilas) with three, and Kuki National Assembly and Kuki People’s Alliance with two each. Eighteen Independents are also in the fray.
Voting will begin at 7 am and will continue till 4 pm. 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.
Notably, 381 polling stations will be completely manned by all-women polling personnel, while one polling station in Saikot will be manned completely by Person with Disability (PwD) polling personnel.
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.