Remainder of Outer Manipur LS seat to go to polls in 2nd phase on Friday

IANS Photo

IANS Photo

Imphal, April 25 (IANS): With the deployment of a huge contingent of Central Armed Police Forces (CAPF) and state police forces, tight security arrangements are in place for the second of the two-phased Lok Sabha elections in Manipur, involving the remaining part of the Outer Manipur seat, on Friday.

Polling in the remaining 13 Assembly segments under the Outer Manipur parliamentary constituency would be held on Friday, while voting for 15 of the 28 Assembly segments in the seat as well as the Inner Manipur Lok Sabha seat was held on the first phase on April 19.

Election officials said that a total of 4,93,751 voters would cast their votes in 857 polling stations to decide the electoral fate of four candidates vying for the Outer Manipur seat, reserved for the tribals.

Voters, sheltered in relief camps due to the nearly year long ethnic violence, would exercise their franchise at nine special polling stations set up in the relief camps in different districts, an election official said.

Meanwhile, polling officials accompanied by the security forces have already reached their destinations.

While the state's ruling BJP is contesting the Inner Manipur seat, it has extended support to the Naga People’s Front (NPF) nominee Kachui Timothy Zimik, who replaced sitting MP Lorho S. Pfoze, in Outer Manipur seat.

The Congress-led INDIA bloc has put up Alfred Kanngam S. Arthur.

Though two Independents - S. Kho John and Alyson Abonmai – are also contesting in the Lok Sabha seat, the main contest will be between Zimik and Arthur, both Nagas.

The Naga community has professed to remain neutral during ethnic conflict between the Meiteis of the Valley and the Kumi-Zomis of the hills. In view of the ethnic strife, campaigning for the two Lok Sabha seats – Inner Manipur and Outer Manipur -- was significantly subdued this time.

Political parties and the candidates did not organise any public meeting -- an unprecedented development in the 75-year electoral history of the northeastern state. Only on April 15, Union Home Minister and senior BJP leader Amit Shah addressed an election rally in Imphal in support of the party candidate.