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#7:00 AM: Polling begins for 49 seats in sixth phase of UP elections, and 38 assembly constituencies in first phase of Manipur polls.

Dewangan also said that the exact turnout will only be known after the arrival of the polling officials from the remote and interior hill areas, adding that they will be airlifted only on Sunday evening.

The campaigning for the first phase of polls ended at 3 pm on Friday. Of the total 1,643 polling stations, where polling was being held on Saturday, 837 polling stations have been identified as hyper sensitive and 529 as sensitive by the Election Commission (EC). Mr Leichombam Erendro, candidate of the PRJA, Thangmeiband, who was assaulted by some persons at Thangmeiband, has filed a police report naming the suspects. The seventh and final phase elections will take place on March 8. "Certainly the Prime Minister's rally before the election gives BJP's campaign an impetus, but that does not rule out the possibility of a hung assembly, as both the party has seen a number of influential leaders switching sides in recent times", he said.

The BJP, which could not win a single seat in the last assembly polls, is the only party contesting from all the 60 seats in Manipur. In Manipur Phase 1, polls were conducted for 38 constituencies. State Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) T Venkentesh told UNI here today that all arrangements for a smooth conduct of the elections have been completed and the polling personnel have started reaching their respective booths. The security apparatus was managed by 8,408 personnel of the central paramilitary forces.

Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav too is leaving no stone unturned and is preparing for a mega roadshow with Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi in Varanasi. The districts going to the polls in the sixth phase are Maharajganj, Kushinagar, Gorakhpur, Deoria, Azamgarh, Mau and Ballia. Manipur's political heavyweight and former Congress minister Phungzathang Tonsing, who had resigned from the grand old party, contested from Churachandpur constituency on the ticket of National People's Party (NPP) in the first phase of the state polls. The first round of polling will decide the fate of political bigwigs like former ministers Thounaojam Chaoba, Yumkham Erabot Singh, O Joy Singh, Nongthongbam Biren Singh, Dr Nimaichand Luwang and the lone former tribal woman MLA Nemcha Kipgen of BJP. Manipur Pradesh Congress Committee president TN Haokip is in fray in the first phase. Notably, elections are being held in two phases in this state. The UNC blocked the movement of goods through two National Highways to the plains of the State where the Meiteis, who are also BJP's key voter base, reside.


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