Polling is underway for the by-elections to four assembly constituencies in Manipur on Saturday amid tight security and strict adherence to the COVID-19 protocol, an Election Commission official said. According to the latest reports, 37.61 percent voter turnout has been recorded till 11 am. Also Read - Rahul Gandhi Seems To Lack Consistency, Says NCP Chief Sharad Pawar
More than 1.35 lakh voters are eligible to exercise their franchise in 203 polling stations in the by-elections to Lilong and Wangjing-Tentha seats in Thoubal district, Saitu in Kangpokpi and Wangoi in Imphal West, he said. Also Read - Karnataka Minister Makes Shocking Remark, Says Farmers Who Die by Suicide Are Cowards
Voting has commenced from 7 am, the official said. The electors will decide the fate of 11 candidates in the four seats. The by-elections were necessitated after Congress MLAs of the four constituencies had resigned from the state Legislative Assembly and also quit the party. They had joined the BJP. Also Read - Rahul Gandhi Slams Modi Government Over Coronavirus Vaccine, Asks 'What Does PM Stand By'
The ruling BJP is contesting in three seats and supporting an independent candidate in Lilong assembly segment, while the opposition Congress is in the fray in all four constituencies. The Wangoi assembly segment will witness an interesting battle as the National People’s Party (NPP), a coalition partner of the BJP-led government in the state, has fielded its candidate against the nominees of the Congress and the saffron camp.
All safety measures are in place as the voting is taking place in the midst of the raging COVID-19, the official said. “Sanitisation of electronic voting machines, wearing of masks and availability of thermal scanner, gloves and hand sanitiser have been ensured in each polling booth,” he said.
The social distancing between two persons is being maintained and a token system has been introduced to limit crowding at the polling stations, he said. Optional postal ballot facility has been provided for electors above 80 years of age, COVID-19 patients and voters quarantined at different centres, the official said.
Electors with COVID-19 related symptoms will be allowed to vote in the last hour of the poll. All polling personnel have been provided with personal protection equipment (PPE). Polling will continue till 5 pm, and counting of votes will be conducted on November 10.