Votes for Konthoujam by-election cast, 90 percent turnout reported

IMPHAL| FEBRUARY 14 : The fate of three candidates to be decided by 24,000 voters in the by-elections to Manipur's Konthoujam assembly constituency has been wrapped up with no major election related incidents reported from the 28 polling stations despite the fact that they were declared from hyper to moderately sensitive by the state election commissioner. The election commissioner earlier yesterday prohibited the visit of political leaders given the sensitive nature. 90 percent of the voters have reportedly cast their votes today.
 The three candidates that are vying for the lone assembly seat of Konthoujam are S Ranjan Singh from Indian National Congress (INC), K Sarat Singh from Manipur Pradesh Trinamool Congress (MPTC) and K Ranjit an Independent candidate. Significantly, S Ranjan Singh is the son of (L) S Budhichandra, speaker of the state assembly, whose untimely demise in October last year necessitated the conduct of the by-election in Konthoujam AC.
 The assembly constituency has 24,601 voters of which 12,125 are male and 12,476 are female. 90 percent of the voters have reportedly cast their votes today at the 28 polling stations in Konthoujam AC.
 According to the election office, 5 companies of CRPF, 45 armed and 46 unarmed state police personnel were pressed into services for the conduct of a violent free by-election.
 Surprisingly, there were no INC and MPTC camps in the home polling station of K Ranjit Singh while Ranjit had his camps in both INC’s and MPTC home polling stations. This is despite the fact that Ranjit Singh has been pegged to emerge as the third amongst the three candidates.
 Significantly, MPTC candidate K Sarat has been backed and supported by Manipur Peoples’ Party (MPP) and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) with an eye to rout congress candidate in an election which is seen as a precursor to the upcoming assembly election early next year. On the other hand, Janata Dal (United) and Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) have extended their support to the Independent candidate K Ranjit Singh.
 Incidentally, the ongoing 9th legislative assembly has been burdened with four by-elections, including Konthoujam by-election, owing to the death of the sitting MLAs in Khundrakpam, Moirang and Yaiskul assembly constituencies. In all the earlier three by-elections the Congress has managed to reinstall their supremacy by defeating their rivals.
 Counting of votes will start on February 17 next.