Manipur: Displaced people express reluctance to vote for the upcoming LS polls

Manipur: Displaced people express reluctance to vote for the upcoming LS polls

The Central Government has taken up special arrangement for internally displaced person (IDPs) to ensure their voting rights in the ensuing 18th Lok Sabha Election. But many such affected persons are showing reluctance to take part in the election. 


The Central Government has taken up special arrangement for internally displaced person (IDPs) to ensure their voting rights in the ensuing 18th Lok Sabha Election. But many such affected persons are still lacking the interest to take part in the election. 

Like other parts of India, strife torn state Manipur is also gearing up for the ensuing 18th Lok Sabha Election. Altogether 10 candidates are vying for election for two Member of Parliament (MP) seat in Lok Sabha allotted to state. 

Despite full swing preparation by concerned authorities, the vibes of election seem to be very low.

Even some people had denounced the election preparation as a mark of condemnation for conducting election before resolving the crisis. On the other hand, some section of society also expressed their views in positive aspects that this election will surely create new Manipur by choosing right candidates. 

The Manipur’s conflict has resulted to displaced more than 58,000 population and they are taking shelter in over 300 relief camps. Though situation of Manipur is little calm and under control yet most of the displaced people are still staying in relief camp. Ensuring the voting rights of IDPs, authority concerned has taken up special arrangement for those affected people. 

According to statement issued by chief electoral officer, Pradeep Kumar Jha has mentioned that IDPs will be considered as ordinary residents of the place where they have been displaced from. They would be treated as electors of the original place. But considering their inconveniences, they will cast their vote at the Relief Camps.
It is also informed that designated Assistant Returning Officers will be appointed for each district for the purpose. A Special Polling Station numbering around 94 will be set up for a cluster of polling stations as special arrangement of displaced people. 

Although government has announced special provision for displaced person. But visiting in relief camps, it has come to notice that majority of displaced person are doesn’t have much interest to take part in election as they have lost their faith to government.

One of the displaced persons from Kangpokpi, presently staying at relief camp opened at Manipur Trade and Expo Centre under Imphal West district, Thoiba (name changed) has said that government official often visited in the camp to take necessary step in connection with upcoming election. 

Thoiba said that around 655 inmates are staying in Manipur Trade and Expo Centre. Out of which, the eligible number of voters for Outer Manipur Parliamentary Constituency is 324 and around 14 of them are eligible voter for Inner Manipur Parliamentary Constituency. However, 79 people in their relief camp had missed to enrol voter card. 
He also informed that many of them had lost their voter ID when they are forced to leave their house due to conflict. But it was renewed easily with the support of the state government official as it is digitised. However, they doesn’t have any difference of having or not having voter ID due to lack of interest in election.

“To return back to hometown is our only voice. No doubt government is providing food and sometime provide training for livelihood. But this thing cannot fulfil all our need. Our life will not be complete and contented until and unless, we go back to our original home. We the people in relief are longing to go for home as it is almost one year that we are away from it. Amidst such situation, how can we have interest for election,” Thoiba who was private school teacher before crisis. 

Another displaced person from Serou, Indira said that she has lost all faith to government both centre and state for not taking up concrete step to end this crisis.

“I don’t know what to say about election. Because of this crisis, I have become a helpless and miserable person. How can I bother or think about election which everyone considers it as festival of democracy,” she expressed in anguished. 

Indira has her voter ID. But she is not interested to cast the election. Yet in fear of doing proxy voting by someone else, she has decided to exercise her voting right.

“Even if I don’t cast vote also, someone may do proxy voting. So, concerning about such circumstances, I feel that it is better to cast the vote despite having no interest,” she stated.

Displaced person from Churachandpur district currently staying at relief camp opened at Ideal Girl College Akampat under Imphal East district, Franchis Keisham also expressed the similar views given above.
Franchis who is also volunteer of the said relief camp stated that around 400 inmate staying at Ideal Girl College camp are eligible to cast their vote. Most of them comes under Outer Manipur Parliamentary constituency and majority of them have voter ID. 

“Displaced people are having hard time for nearly one year. We haven’t received compensation except some temporary relief. There is not much change in our life as we are still stuck with uncertainty. Hope that the coming government will surely address our problem and take initiation of resettlement,” Franchis said while expressing that he will cast his vote choosing candidate wisely. 

As per Election Commission of Manipur, total number populations of Manipur is 28,55,794. Out of it, number of electors is 2029601. Out of it, male voters is 980989, female is 1048364 and transgender is 248. But it is yet to ascertain that how many voter are displaced people. The process of filing a form to cast vote in relief camp is still going on. 

It may mentioned that the election will be held in two phases. The number of voters to cast the election on first phase which falls on April 19 is 1544652. Out of it male voters is 741849, female is 802557 and third gender of 246. For second phase which scheduled on April 26, the number of voters is 484949. The number of male voter is 239140, female elector is 245807 and third gender is 2. 

The total number of polling stations is 2955, number of special polling station is 94 and number of critical and vulnerable polling station is 1058. 

For Inner Manipur Parliamentary Constituency, six candidates were nominated. They are Republican Party of India-Athawale's Maheshwar Thounaojam, BJP's Thounaojam Basanta Kumar Singh, Congress's Angomcha Bimol Akoijam and RK Somendro alias Kaiku, Moirangthem Totomshana Nongshaba, Haorungbam Sarat Singh as an independent candidate. 

Whereas from Outer Manipur Parliamentary Constituency, four candidates are vying for election. They are Congress’ Alfred Kanngam S Arthur, NPF’s Kachui Timothy Zimik and Alyson Abonmai, S Kho John as independent candidate.

Also read: Sikkim BJP Sangha constituency candidate vows to fight for state's future from hospital bed

Edited By: Nandita Borah
Published On: Apr 02, 2024