Voting for the sixth phase of the Uttar Pradesh elections and the first phase of the Manipur elections came to a close on Saturday evening, with the expected amount of voter turnout in both places. Surprisingly, Manipur was the more "happening" of the two destinations, with multiple incidents – violent or otherwise – emanating from there.
UP elections Phase 6
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The sixth phase of the UP Assembly elections was expected to see more than 1.72 lakh people sealing the fate of 635 candidates across 17,926 polling booths in 49 Assembly constituencies. However, roughly 57 percent of those voters turned out to exercise their franchise, according to the Election Commission (EC).
Voting was mostly peaceful, with the odd polling booth experiencing delays as the electronic voting machine (EVM) malfunctioned. While all this was happening, the police were searching for SP candidate Gayatri Prajapati, who was reportedly trying to flee the country. Airports across India had been put on alert because he was apparently trying to escape. A non-bailable arrest warrant was issued in his name later in the day, after polling concluded.
Manipur elections Phase 1
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Meanwhile, a whopping 84 percent voters turned out for Phase 1 of the Manipur Assembly elections, sealing the fate of 168 candidates across 38 Assembly constituencies. However, the process was mired in controversy even before polling began, with the EC ordering action against several BJP members for an advertisement in a newspaper the day before polling.
And then, a member of the Peoples Resurgence and Justice Alliance (PRJA), Erendro Leichombam, was assaulted by unidentified individuals. Erendro was given medical attention and a police complaint has been registered in this regard. The PRJA has been launched by activist Irom Sharmila.
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The EC, in a statement released on Saturday, March 4, said: "Due to the death of contesting candidates, namely Chand Shekhar and Kuldeep Singh Kanwasi from 279- Alapur (SC) Assembly constituency of the Uttar Pradesh and from 06-Karna Prayag Assembly Constituency of Uttarakhand, respectively, the commission adjourned the poll in the aforesaid two constituencies and fixed March 9, 2017, (Thursday) as the date of poll in the said constituencies."
It added: "In view of the above, the Commission, in exercise of the powers under sub-section(1) of Section 126 A of the Representation of the People Act 1951 has extended the period of prohibition of conduct of Exit Polls up to 5:30 pm of March 9, 2017." It also said: "Therefore, conducting of exit poll and disseminating result of any exit poll now stands prohibited till 5:30 pm of March 9, 2017."