Blockade won’t impact polling in Manipur, assures poll panel

RSTV Bureau
Naseem-Zaidi

File photo of Chief Election Commissioner Naseem Zaidi. (PTI)

The Election Commission is confident that the economic blockade in Manipur will not impact the poll process in the state.

“We have all the data from our state election machinery. We are confident that the economic blockade will not impact the poll process in the state. The state government has also assured us. We will get cooperation from all the sections,” Chief Election Commissioner Nasim Zaidi told reporters in Imphal.

An indefinite economic blockade imposed by the United Naga Council (UNC) from November 1, 2016 is still on in the state. The group is protesting against the state government’s decision to create seven new districts in the landlocked state by bifurcating the existing ones.

Supply of essential commodities including fuel has been severely hit because of the blockade on NH2 (via Dimapur) and NH 37 (via Jiribam) — the two lifelines of the state.

“We have undertaken a very in-depth review with our district officials and also with the state officials. As far as the election process is concerned there is a priority and sufficient availability of petrol, diesel for poll process. There would be no problem regarding it and all poll personnel will assist us,” Zaidi said when asked about the fuel massive shortage in the state.

Zaidi assured the media of peaceful fair elections for both the phases, scheduled on March 4 and March 8.

The election body, he said, was taking all preventive measures for ensuring trouble-free polls in all 2794 polling stations in the state.

Reviewing the poll-preparedness in the state, Zaidi said, “Eighteen assembly constituencies have been identified as sensitive, while 352 villages/ localities have been identified as vulnerable, 837 polling stations have been identified as critical polling stations. Special security arrangements have been made in these areas to enable voters to cast their votes.

(With inputs from PTI)