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Voting for 3 RS seats in North-East completed amid changing political equations in Manipur

PTI Imphal /Aizawl/ Shillong | Updated on June 20, 2020 Published on June 19, 2020

Voting for three Rajya Sabha seats in as many North-East states were completed peacefully on Friday, with several precautionary measures in place in view of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Manipur

Given the changing political equations in Manipur, where the BJP-led government is on a sticky wicket after nine members of the ruling coalition resigned, the polling process for the only Rajya Sabha seat was undertaken amid tight security.

Three BJP MLAs of the nine who have resigned from the primary membership of the party and the post of the legislator, did not cast their votes.

Four NPP ministers, who had withdrawn their support to the ruling coalition, however, exercised their franchise.

The lone AITC MLA, who has also pulled out of the N Biren Singh-led dispensation, skipped the polling process.

Three Congress defectors -- Ksh Biren Singh, S Bira Singh, Surchandra Singh -- were not allowed to cast their votes, as cases are pending against them.

One MLA who was disqualified recently, was also barred from taking part in the voting process.

All legislators abided by the safety protocol while casting votes.

Arch rivals BJP and the Congress have fielded Manipur’s titular king L Sanajaoba and veteran politician T Mangi Babu, respectively, for the only Rajya Sabha seat.

Mizoram

Polling for the lone Upper House seat in Mizoram lasted for around three hours from 9 pm, an official said.

All legislators and officials on duty had to undergo thermal screening.

At least two medical teams were deployed and an isolation room set up at the assembly secretariat to handle safety measures and to deal with medical emergencies, if any, the official said.

The ruling Mizo National Front (MNF) in the state has fielded K Vanlalvena, the party’s national core committee member and former youth wing president.

Vanlalvena is pitted against the Zoram Peoples Movement (ZPM) General Secretary (frontal in-charge), B Lalchhanzova, and Congress spokesperson Dr Lallianchhunga.

Lone BJP legislator Dr Buddha Dhan Chakma, however, did not cast his vote.

Chakma skipped the polling process because the saffron party did not put up a candidate to contest the Rajya Sabha elections, state BJP president Vanlalhmuaka told PTI.

Chief Minister Zoramthanga execised his franchise around 11 am.

In the 40-member Mizoram Assembly, the MNF has 27 MLAs, ZPM seven and the Congress five.

Meghalaya

In neighbouring Meghalaya, Chief Electoral Officer F. R. Kharkongor, said voting machines were sanitised, and legislators wore masks and maintained social distancing during the polling process.

“Voting was conducted smoothly and there was no untoward incident. All Covid-19 precautions were followed by election officials and the MLAs,” Kharkongor said.

Chief Minister Conrad K Sangma, his cabinet colleagues and members of the ruling Meghalaya Democratic Alliance (MDA) exercised their franchise early in the day.

The MDA coalition fielded the National People’s Party (NPP) state president, W. R. Kharlukhi, as its candidate.

The Opposition Congress, which has 19 MLAs in the 60-member House, nominated former legislator Kennedy Khyriem.

Khun Hynnewtrep National Awakening Movement MLA decided to abstain from voting in protest against NPP Lok Sabha MP, Agatha K Sangma’s support to the Citizenship Amendment Act, earlier this year.

Elections to the three Upper House seats in the North-East were necessitated as the terms of the former members had ended.

Published on June 19, 2020
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