The second phase and last phase of the election in the state is on March 5. (FILE)

Guwahati: Polling for the first phase of the assembly election in Manipur ended today. The BJP-led alliance is hoping for a second term in power in a multi-cornered contest. Thirty-eight of the state’s 60 seats voted today.

  1. The 38 seats across 5 districts have recorded an average turnout of 78.03 per cent. Today’s polling covers 29 seats in Manipur’s valley districts — Imphal West, Imphal East, and Bishnupur. The rest are in the hill districts of Kangpokpi, Churachandpur, and Pherzawl.

  2. Besides the BJP and the Congress, Meghalaya Chief Minister Conrad Sangma’s National People’s Party is also in the fray this time, contesting 38 seats. The National People’s Party and Naga People’s Front, which have been part of the BJP-led ruling coalition, are going solo in this election, expressing dissatisfaction with the N Biren Singh government. The Janata Dal United is contesting the elections in the state after 20 years.

  3. The Congress had emerged as the single largest party in Manipur in 2017, winning 28 of the 60 seats. But the BJP, despite winning 21 seats, had formed government in the state, with the help of the National People’s Party and Naga People’s Front.

  4. The state has seen a high-voltage campaign, with Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Home Minister Amit Shah holding multiple rallies/" 1014 target="_blank">political rallies. The Kuki National Organisation, an armed underground group, has “appealed” to the people of the Hill areas to vote for the BJP, creating unease among the opposition parties.

  5. For the Congress, which lost much ground in the northeast since 2014, Manipur is a battle for survival. The party’s former Chief Minister Ibobi Singh has said they are trying to work out an “understanding” with other parties so they can move fast if they fail to win majority but emerge as the single largest party.

  6. Blaming former Governor Najma Heptulla for the 2017 upset, Mr Singh said, “The Governor didn’t allow us to form the government. BJP central ministers were sitting with her at Raj Bhawan. Congress will be revived in this election”.

  7. Rajesh Agarwal, the chief Electoral Officer of Manipur told NDTV that insurgency adds to the overall challenge of conducting polls in the state and 1,900 polling stations are considered either vulnerable or critical.

  8. “Over 2,000 incidents related to polls reported over the last 50 days,” Mr Agarwal said. He also said separate arrangements have been made for cadres of the rebel groups who wish to vote. The groups have been overground since ceasefire was declared in 2008.

  9. Home Minister Amit Shah has assured the people that the government will hold peace talks with all Kuki insurgent groups and the matter will be resolved in the next five years. As the problem of Bodo militancy was solved in neighbouring Assam, no Kuki youth will have to carry arms anymore, Mr Shah said at a rallies/" 1014 target="_blank">political rally.

  10. The second phase and last phase of the election in the state is on March 5. The counting of votes will take place on March 10, with four other states including Uttar Pradesh.

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