Imphal: A total of 173 candidates including 15 females are in fray for the poll scheduled today. Out of 173 candidates, 39 candidates have criminal antecedents. The party wise number of candidates: BJP-38, CPI-1, INC-35, NCP-6, NPP-27, JD(U)-28, LJP (Ram Vilas)-3, RPI (Athawale)-6, Shiv Sena-7, Kuki National Assembly-2, Kuki People’s Alliance-2 and Independent-18, Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) informed.
The CEO of Manipur, Rajesh Agrawal stated that since the Election Commission of India (ECI) has discontinued Photo Voter Slip as an identity proof with effect from February 28, 2019. Voters shall require to produce one of the 12 identity documents approved by the Commission, which include EPIC card, Aadhaar Card, MNREGA Job Card, Passbooks with photograph issued by Bank/Post Office, Health Insurance Smart Card issued under the scheme of Ministry of Labour, Driving License, PAN Card, Smart Card issued by RGI under NPR, Indian Passport, Pension document with photograph, Service Identity Cards with photograph issued to employees by Central/State Govt./PSUs/Public Limited Companies and Official identity cards issued to MPs/MLAs/MLCs. The poll will take place from 7 am to 4 pm on February 28, 2022.The CEO also stated that a total of 38 Assembly Constituencies including 10 in Imphal East, 13 in Imphal West, 6 in Bishnupur, 6 in Churachandpur and 3 in Kangpokpi will go for polls scheduled tomorrow, February 28. A total of 12,09,439 voters including 580607 male, 628657 female and 175 transgender voters are in Phase-I who will exercise their franchise across 1721 polling stations. There is a total of 10041 PwD electors and 251 Centenarian voters in these 38 Assembly Constituencies. The polling parties for all polling stations have proceeded for their allotted PS including 23 parties on P-3 day and 117 parties on P-2 day. It is worth mentioning that 381 polling stations will be completely manned by all women polling personnel. Interestingly, 4 Assembly Constituencies namely Singjamei, Yaiskul, Wangkhei and Churachandpur will be manned by all women polling teams. It is also notable that 1 polling station in Saikot will be manned completely byPwD polling personnel. A total of 6884 polling personnel are being deployed and all polling personnel will reach their respective polling stations today.
Arrangements for webcasting/videography have been made in all polling stations. Adequate CAPF have been deployed in all polling stations. In addition, micro-observers have been deployed in all critical polling stations.
To ensure COVID safe election, adequate arrangements have been made in all polling stations. All polling stations have been sanitised. ASHA and Anganwadi workers have been engaged. Marking of circles with minimum distance has been done to avoid crowding. Besides, mask, glove, face shield, thermal scanners, PPE kit etc. have been provided to polling parties. Voters who are COVID positive or are under quarantine will be allowed to vote at the last hour between 3 pm to 4 pm.
On the accessibility front, provision for Pick up/Drop facilities for PwD and aged electors are made available with wheelchair facility. Besides, two volunteers have been engaged in each polling station for assisting voters. Voter Assistance Booth have also been set up in all polling stations.
Postal Ballots for service electors have been issued to all 13274 electors electronically and 559 have been received till date. These will be received till 10.03.2022 before 8am. A total of 13067 voters on election duty have applied for postal ballot, while2419 PBsreceived at the facilitation centre, the rest have been sent to the voters by post at their addresses. Further, 906 postal ballots have been cast by Pwd voters and 4968 votes have been cast by 80+ voters in the absentee voter category. For Essential services, 15 PBs issued and all PBs received.
The movement of EVMs are being tracked with the help of e-Traccar App which is embedded in the mobile phones of Polling personnel and Sector Officers. Besides, a polling personnel will be able to report any sort of EVM malfunctioning or any untoward incident happening in the polling station. This will enable the Returning Officer to take immediate corrective actions. Booth App shall also be used to report two hourly report of voter turn out by the polling team. Control Rooms have been set up in all offices of Returning Officers, District Election Officers and Chief Electoral Officer, Manipur. Among one of the initiatives, a voter will also be able to know the queue waiting time in the polling station with the help of voter facilitator app which is available for download in google play store.
In order to ensure free, fair and smooth election, certain restrictions have been imposed on poll day in the polling station premises.Providing free conveyance to voters to and from the polling stations by a candidate/his agent is a corrupt practice and strictly forbidden. As provided in Section 130 of Representation of the People Act, 1951, canvassing within polling station or any public or private place within a distance of 100meters of a polling station is strictly prohibited. Cellular phones, cordless phone etc., shall not be allowed except officers on duty in the 100 meters of a PS. Besides, no campaign related posters or banners within 100 meters of the Polling Booth are allowed. Use of loud speakers within 100 metre polling stations is also strictly prohibited. Candidates shall also not set up booths within 200 metres of the polling booth.
The CEO then appealed to all electors to come out and exercise their franchise fearlessly and out of free will on the poll day tomorrow. Adequate security arrangements have been made with deployment of Central Paramilitary force at all polling stations. In addition, there will be effective patrolling and area domination by CAPF and Manipur Police, in all the 38 constituencies throughout the day, for confidence building and to enable people to come out and vote in a peaceful setting, the CEO added.