Outer Constituency has voted Massive exercise


It is a massive exercise spread across 1562 polling stations with over 10 lakh registered voters eligible to cast their vote and choose who should represent them for the next five years at the Lok Sabha. Geographically it extends from the remotest corner of the hills to the more populous valley segments with 8 Assembly Constituencies located in Thoubal, Kakching and Jiribam district. In the fray are eight candidates including NCP’s Angam Karung Kom, INC’s K James, NPP’s Thangminlen Kipgen, NPF’s Lorho S Pfoze, BJP’s Houlim Shokhopao Mate alias Benjamin Mate, NEIDP’s Ashan Kasar, JD-U’s Hangkhanpau Taithul and Independent candidate Leikhan Kaipu. The over 10 lakh registered voters include 11,347 service voters and 13 third gender voters. Interesting statistics and making it more interesting is the fact that apart from the NPF, NPP and the Independent candidate, the other candidates are in the fray with blessings from their high command based at far away New Delhi. Even the NPF and the NPP have their headquarters outside Manipur and this is where it becomes apparent that the election in the Outer Parliament Constituencies would have elicited interest beyond the border of Manipur. The voters have sealed the fate of the 8 candidates in the fray and the outcome will only be known when the votes are counted on May 23. Apart from this a number of security personnel were pressed into service to ensure that the polls went off fine and well with no untoward incident given the fact that out of the 1562 polling stations, 227 have been identified as critical while 171 have been dubbed as vulnerable.
Massive exercise of human and poll material movement all in the spirit of keeping alive the core meaning of democracy easily making it one of the most hectic preparations. All indications that apart from political parties and candidates reaching out to the people to seek their mandate, Government machineries had to reach out to all the nooks and corner of the country and the State, Manipur in this case, to make the first phase of polling meaningful. Not an easy exercise it must have been given the topography in the Outer Parliamentary Constituency where the task of reaching a polling station alone is a tough task in itself. Massive movement of people and poll material and this is not the end for remember the poll material will have to be brought back to the counting halls. Largest democracy at work and this is where one cannot help but question whether the massive efforts taken up to conduct the polls were met with the needed co-operation from all quarters or not. Days before polling day there came reports of underground outfits flexing their muscles and ordering village chiefs who to vote for. Making this more unacceptable is the fact that the diktats came from outfits which are in political negotiations with the Government of India. The votes have been cast, but questions will still remain on whether the elected can sincerely be called the people’s representative or not given the fact that a large number of people were coerced to toe the line spelt out by the armed outfits.

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