Manipur sees peaceful local body polls

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Imphal, Jan 11 (IANS) Polls to elect 279 municipal councillors and 568 other local body members in four districts of Manipur were held on Monday.

Balloting took place to elect 31 councillors in Imphal East district, 72 in Imphal West, 83 in Bishnupur and 93 in Thoubal. Polling ended peacefully at 4 p.m. and there was no major untoward incident.

Elections were held in 18 municipal councils and eight nagar panchayats. There were 2,36,302 voters in the 587 polling stations.

“There were 685 candidates candidates for the councillors’ posts and and 1,040 candidates for members. Nine councillors — five of the Congress, three independents and one from the LJP — as well as 162 members were elected uncontested,” said State Election Commission secretary Mutum Radharani.

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“For the first time in Manipur, two polling stations at Nambol were exclusively manned by women polling personnel and police,” she said.

No candidate had filed nomination papers for a ward in Shamurou Nagar Panchayat, and as a result, polling was not held there.

Nambol Sub-divisional Officer N. Ramananda said: “A large number of employees are retiring shortly. There may be a shortage of polling personnel soon. To cope with such a situation, women employees were detailed to the polling duty.”

Because of the morning cold, very few people came out at first to exercise their franchise. But voting picked up during the day.

The Congress fielded 199 candidates, the BJP 181, the CPI 14, the LJP 9, while there were 260 independents for the councillors’ posts.

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However, the neck-and-neck fight was between the Congress and the BJP.

The outcome will show whether the ruling Congress, which is serving its third term, a record in Manipur, is firmly in the saddle.

If the BJP wins, it will prove whether the party, which has two legislators in the 60-member house, can wrest power from the Congress.

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