In the first phase of Assembly elections to 38 seats, Manipur recorded about 78.04 per cent turnout till 5 pm on Monday. The polling is much less that 2017 election's voting percentage, which was 86.63. The second phase of elections to 22 seats will be held on March 5.
The Election Commission said the polling has been largely peaceful except an incident of accidental firing where a Manipur police personnel was killed. Chief Election Officer of the State Rajesh Agarwal said an incident of poll disruption has also been reported in Keithelmanbi. "This has led to a delay in polling process. EVM machine has been broken, we're examining whether to continue polls here today or go for a re-poll," he added.
The main contest in the State is between the BJP led by Chief Minister Biren Singh and the Congress led by former chief minister Okram Ibobi Singh. After casting his vote in his constituency, the Chief Minister said the BJP will retain power. He addressed a rally in Sugnu and said: "I’m happy to be amongst my brothers and sisters of Sugnu today. The people of Sugnu have resolved to turn out in large number on March 5 and vote for the BJP," he said.
Congress leader in charge of the State Jairam Ramesh said the BJP used power against political opponents. He said Congress candidate from Saitu was arrested unjustly when he went to New Keithelmanbi polling station to ensure free and fair elections and to stop BJP from malpractices. "We demand his unconditional & immediate release! This is murder of democracy by Union Home Minister and Chief Minister," he added.