Imphal: About 35 percent of electors cast their ballot till Thursday noon as voting took place for the second Lok Sabha seat from Manipur, officials said.

An Election Commission official said polling took place in the Inner Manipur constituency, and no untoward incident has been reported so far.

“Balloting has been absolutely peaceful till now,” he added.

About 78 percent of the total 911,000 voters in the tribal reserved Outer Manipur constituency cast their ballot April 9.

Around 874,000 voters, including 448,000 women, are eligible to vote Thursday at 1,406 polling stations. Eight candidates, including a woman, are in the fray.

“Not a single untoward incident has been reported so far in any of the four hilly districts – Imphal East, Imphal West, Bishenpur, and Thoubal – where elections are being held,” the poll panel official  told reporters.

“Despite the summer heat, voters in large numbers came to the polling stations even before voting started at 7 a.m.”

Voting was delayed for a short while due to technical snags in electronic voting machines at some polling booths, but engineers rectified the problems or replaced the EVMs and balloting resumed normally.

Over 12,000 paramilitary troopers and state security personnel have been deployed to maintain vigil.

Once ravaged by terrorism, Manipur still suffers from militancy, and the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act, 1958, (AFSPA) is a major issue, along with development.

Besides withdrawal of the AFSPA, other issues dominating the campaign were the alleged misgovernance by the Congress, under-development, unemployment and drug menace.

Incumbent member Thokchom Meinya Singh of the Congress, Moirangthem Nara Singh of the Communist Party of India (CPI), and R.K. Ranjan Singh, a former Manipur University professor of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) are the main contenders.

Meinya Singh, who is seeking re-election for the third consecutive term, defeated Nara Singh in 2009.

The Trinamool Congress has fielded Sarangthem Manaobi, a former police officer.

For security reasons, polling hours in Manipur will be from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m, unlike in the other northeastern states where votes could be cast between 7 a.m. and 5 p.m.

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