Counting today : Power cuts, AIR the only option
Source: The Sangai Express

Imphal, February 26: With the counting of votes for the election to the 9th Assembly scheduled to start at the district headquarters and sub-divisional headquarters from 8 am tomorrow, a picture on the likely composition of the next Government will emerge soon.

Given the erratic power supply, the best bet to get the latest information will be the All India Radio.

With many political parties claiming that they would emerge the single largest party after the election and the Congress even going to the extent of asserting that it would be able to form the Government on its own, horse trading and hectic policticking is expected to start once the results start trickling in.

On the other hand the Election office is taking no chances and tight security measures and other arrangements have been taken up at all the counting centres.

Speaking to The Sangai Express Chief Electoral Officer RR Rashmi said that the counting will be held across 12 counting centres in 18 halls at the district headquarters and sub-divisional headquarters.

For Imphal East the counting will be held at the office hall of the Deputy Commissioner and the office hall of the Deputy Director of Food Processing, informed Rashmi.

At Thoubal, Churachandpur and Imphal East districts, the vote count will be held in two halls each while at Imphal West the counting will be conducted inside four halls.

In the other districts counting will be held in one hall each.

Central para-military forces will be deployed at the counting centres.

The respective District Election Officers have asked all the officials deployed for the counting to report at the counting centres before 8 am tomorrow.

As part of the tight security measures taken up, prohibition under Section CrPC 144 has been imposed around the periphery of all the counting centres.

A three tier security ring will be also deployed at all the counting centres, as notified by the Chief Electoral Officer earlier.

With the counting scheduled to start from 8 am tomorrow, the trend of the election result will follow soon.

The All India Radio, Imphal has also announced that special bulletins in connection with the counting of the votes will be aired tomorrow from 9 am onwards.

Election analysis by prominent political leaders of different political parties and journalists will also be aired from 8.35 am.

INC candidate rejects: Congress candidate in Thanga A/C T Mangibabu has rejected the contention of the Samajwadi Party candidate Salam Ibohal's chief agent S Lokendro that he (Mangibabu) and another candidate had withdrawn 16 postal ballot papers illegally.

Mangibabu also dismissed the allegation that his workers had taken some postal ballot papers clandestinely from the head post office of Bishnupur.

These allegations are purely fabricated and baseless, Mangibabu said at a press conference at MPCC office today.

Setting the record straight, Mangibabu and his election agent Kh Babu clarified that 16 ballot papers were cancelled by the RO after he and some agents complained that an agent had indulged in irregularities.

Babu further lodged complaints to the Chief Election Commissioner and State Chief Electoral Officer against the manipulation of 32 postal ballot papers of the same constituency by one Haobijam Tiken who was functioning as Liaison Officer to General Observer NN Thakur, Mangibabu said.

Interestingly, Tiken is the son of MPP candidate in Thanga A/C H Manisana.

Of the 32 postal ballots manipulated by Tiken, seven electors never applied for the postal ballots to the RO, the complaint mentioned while requesting the authorities to reject these ballots.

It also sought befitting action against the defaulting officials.

Mangibabu exuded confidence that he would win by a margin of more than 1000 votes against his nearest rival H Manisana.