Congress demands repoll in 47 polling stations in Manipur, three arrested

Incidents of firing, intimidation, destruction of EVMs and allegations of booth capturing were reported from Manipur on Friday

Screen grab from PTI video showing Bimol Akoijam of the Congress arguing with security personnel
Screen grab from PTI video showing Bimol Akoijam of the Congress arguing with security personnel


The Congress has demanded a repoll in 47 polling stations in Manipur alleging that booths were captured and elections to the state's two Lok Sabha constituencies were rigged.

Incidents of firing, intimidation, destruction of EVMs at some polling booths and allegations of booth capturing were reported on Friday from conflict-hit Manipur, which recorded a turnout of over 68 per cent in the two Lok Sabha constituencies of Inner Manipur and Outer Manipur.

Manipur Congress president K. Meghachandra said the party has lodged a complaint with Manipur's chief electoral officer demanding a repoll in 36 polling stations in Inner Manipur constituency and 11 in Outer Manipur.

Speaking to reporters on Friday night, Meghachandra said, "Unidentified armed miscreants have been threatening Congress candidate Angomcha Bimol Akoijam and party election agents for some days. We have lodged a complaint with the CEO Manipur for repoll in 36 polling stations in Inner Manipur and 11 polling stations in Outer Manipur," he said.

The demand for a repoll included three polling stations within chief minister N. Biren Singh's Assembly segment of Heingang.

Both the BJP and the Congress on Friday accused each other of unleashing violence and breaching the model code of conduct in place during the elections in Manipur.

BJP state unit general-secretary K. Sarat Kumar told reporters that Akoijam, a candidate from Inner Manipur, accompanied by large numbers of his supporters, visited several polling stations and provoked officials and voters, leading to commotion. "Akoijam, accompanied by his supporters, visited several polling booths and disturbed the election atmosphere. We have filed a complaint with the chief electoral officer and returning officer," he said.

On the other hand, the Congress has blamed the BJP for violence during voting in Inner Manipur. Kh Devbrata, working president of the Congress state unit, told reporters, "We strongly condemn the acts of armed unidentified men entering polling stations and intimidating voters and indulging in proxy voting. We haven't seen the government try to conduct the polling peacefully in a free and fair manner," Singh said.

Girish Chodankar, the election in-charge of Manipur and Nagaland for AICC, wrote on X that violence and booth capturing by armed miscreants have been witnessed in several places despite a written submission to the chief electoral officer about "possible tension".

"They allowed frustrated BJP supporters to forcibly capture booths and prevent common people from exercising their voting rights, making a mockery of the elections. We have demanded repolling in such booths," he added.

Earlier on Friday, incidents of intimidation and firing were reported from at least two places in Inner Manipur constituency where voting for the Lok Sabha polls was underway, officials said.

At Thamnapokpi under Moirang constituency in Bishnupur district, armed men fired several rounds in the air near a polling booth prompting voters to flee, police said, adding that additional security personnel were rushed to the spot to contain the situation.

Unidentified armed men also intimidated election agents of a particular political party at different places and asked them to leave the polling stations, they said. At Uripok and Iroishemba in Imphal West district, armed men asked agents of a party to leave the premises of polling stations, an official said.

At Kiyamgei in Imphal East district's Keirao constituency, armed men fired blank shots and intimidated Congress polling agents.

Earlier, it was reported that Manipur Police arrested three persons who were involved in a firing incident near a polling station in Imphal East district, an officer said.

The three arrested persons were involved in the firing incident at Moirangkampu Sajeb in Imphal East district in which a man was injured on Friday, the officer said.

The three had fled from the spot in a four-wheeler after the incident, and were arrested on Friday evening less than 5 km from the incident site.

One .32 pistol with ammunition and Rs 1.5 lakh in cash were seized from their possession. A case has been filed and the investigation is on, the officer added.

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