Over 75 percent polling expected in Manipur: Poll panel

New Delhi, Jan 28 (IANS) Over 75 percent voter turnout is expected in Manipur, where seven people, including an unidentified insurgent, have been killed in poll-related violence Saturday, the Election Commission of India said.

“The polling percentage was estimated at 61 percent by 3 p.m.,” Deputy Election Commissioner Alok Shukla said, adding that the polling percentage was expected to go up, as there were queues at many polling stations.
“The polling percentage is expected to go at least up to 75 percent,” said Shukla.
Shukla said seven people were killed when an insurgent in the guise of a voter entered a polling booth in Chandel assembly constituency and started firing indiscriminately. However, the state police have put the toll at six.
One Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) trooper, three polling officials and one voter died in the incident, while the insurgent was also shot dead, Shukla said.
One voter who was severely injured in the incident was evacuated but he later succumbed to the injuries in a hospital, he added.
Asked about the identity of the insurgent, the Election Commission officer said: “It is a matter to be investigated.”
Shukla said Manipur is the first state where every voter had been photographed to rule out possibility of impersonation.
“Every voter had been photographed and results of this exercise, done on experimental basis, will be studied,” he said, adding that the commission may also do a similar exercise during assembly polls in Goa March 3.
He said the government had signed “suspension of operation” agreement with some insurgent groups in Manipur and the commission had given postal ballot to 197 insurgents.
Shukla said there were six incidents in which mobs had damaged electronic voting machines and one incident of snatching of EVM.
“On the whole, polling has been peaceful,” he said.
Over 1.7 million voters were eligible to exercise their franchise in the polls to the 60-member assembly in the state. Manipur has more women than men as voters.
There were 279 candidates, including 15 women, in the fray.
Shukla said the Election Commission had seized cash amounting to Rs.47 lakh, 30 illegal weapons and 38 gm of heroin in the state during the elections.
He said Manipur had recorded 84.8 percent polling in the 2007 assembly polls.