Blockade will have little impact on Manipur polls: Chief Election Commissioner Nasim Zaidi

Nasim Zaid said that from the kind of feedback the Commission received from all concerned, it was confident that the polls could be held in a free and fair manner.

Published: 22nd February 2017 05:57 PM  |   Last Updated: 22nd February 2017 07:09 PM   |  A+A-

Zaidi

Chief Election Commissioner Nasim Zaidi | PTI

Express News Service

IMPHAL: The Election Commission is confident that the ongoing nearly four-month-old economic blockade in Manipur would have little or no impact on the Assembly elections in the state next month.
 
Chief Election Commissioner (CEC), Nasim Zaidi, told reporters in Imphal on Wednesday that given the kind of feedback the Commission received from all concerned, it was confident that the polls could be held in a free and fair manner.
 
“We request everyone in the state to cooperate with the people involved in the poll process for a free and fair election,” he said at a press conference, also attended by all other Commission members.
 
“We have undertaken an in­-depth review with district officials and others. As there is sufficient availability of fuel for election process, there will be no problem on that count. As on today (Wednesday), we have some contingency plans. We don’t have any problem as far as the petroleum products are concerned,” Zaidi said.
 
He refused to divulge the details of the strength of central para-military forces to be deployed in the poll process but said the number was “adequate”. The CEC said all polling stations would be adequately covered by the central forces.
 
“Manipur is a dry state but liquor still flows. It is coming from the international (India-Myanmar) border and the inter-state borders. Chances are it might be used to lure voters. So, we have asked the officials concerned to ensure that the state really remains dry in letter and spirit,” Zaidi said.
 
He said the Commission had reviewed the law and order situation with the police and other security agencies and that the district authorities were undertaking all preventive measures.
 
“We are reasonably satisfied with the measures taken for the maintenance of law and order. The law and order machinery will be further strengthened,” he added.
 
The two-phase polls in the state will be held on March 4 and 8. Altogether, 266 candidates are in the fray in 60 constituencies. There are 19,02,562 voters – 9,28,573 of them are males and 9,73,989 are females.
 

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