Manipur 1st phase polling today; Afspa, jobs among key issues: 10 points

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Voting began in Manipur on Monday for the first phase of state elections across five districts – Imphal East, Imphal West, Bishnupur, Churachandpur, and Kangpokpi – for 38 of 60 assembly seats. Chief Minister N Biren Singh is among the key candidates. He is contesting from the home turf of Heingang as he seeks a fifth term. The voting commenced at 7 am. It will continue till 4 pm. Manipur is a critical northeastern state that the BJP is fighting to retain to maintain its footprint in the northeast.

Here are ten points on Manipur assembly elections 2022:

1. The voting is taking place amid tight security in the insurgency-hit state. “Security personnel is present in large numbers from Assam and Manipur, smooth polling is expected”, presiding officer Dr Syed Ahmed was quoted as saying by news agency ANI.

2. Assembly speaker Y Khemchand Singh from Singjamei, deputy chief minister Yumnam Joykumar Singh from Uripok and state Congress chief N Lokesh Singh from Nambol are among the other key candidates in the first phase. A total of 173 candidates, including 15 women, are contesting the first phase .

3. The Congress is the key challenger to the BJP. It has formed a six-party alliance – the Manipur Progressive Secular Alliance (MPSA). The allies include Communist Party of India (CPI), Communist Party of India (Marxist), Forward Bloc, Revolutionary Socialist Party (RSP) and Janata Dal (Secular).

4. AFSPA, which gives sweeping powers to the Army, has turned out to be a poll issue in the state with the Congress promising that it will remove the controversial law if voted to power.

5. In the 2017 Manipur elections, the Congress had emerged as the single-largest party after winning 28 of 60 seats. But the BJP was able to form a government with National People’s Party (NPP), Naga People’s Front (NPF) and the Lok Janshakti Party (LJP).

6. This time the BJP has decided to go solo – it is contesting all 60 seats.

7. Despite calls for leadership change, N Biren Singh emerged as the face of the BJP.

8. It’s a crucial election for the Congress to regain the lost ground. The party has been dealing with a lot of infighting. Hours before voting, the party expelled its candiate Wangoi AC, Salam Joy Singh, news agency PTI reported.

9. The second phase of the Manipur elections will be held on March 5; votes will be counted on March 10.

10. All Covid norms are being followed at polling booths. Those who are infected with Covid-19 or are under quarantine can vote for their candidates from 3 pm to 4 pm.


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