The Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) Manipur said that militant cadres under Suspension of Operation (SoO), kept in the designated camps, whose names have been enrolled in the electoral rolls are entitled to vote by postal ballots. A notification to this effect was issued by the Election Commission of India on March 28, said the CEO in a press statement.
Ramananda Nongmeikapam, the joint CEO of Manipur, said there are as many as 2881 cadres of different militant groups under SoO in 32 camps spread across Churachandpur and Chandel districts. Most of the cadres housed at the designated camps are registered voters, said the joint CEO.
There are 25 armed Kuki groups operating in the state, 17 under the KNO and 8 under the United Peoples’ Front (UPF), another umbrella group under SoO.
In order to implement the postal ballot facility to the electors residing in designated SoO Camps in Manipur, it has been decided by the Election Commission that the AROs/nodal officers appointed for the various camps will be responsible for providing the forms.
The collection of sealed envelopes containing postal ballots to be dropped in a drop box by the notified electors and the AROs shall also ensure that the marked postal ballots reach the returning officers well before the commencement of counting of votes, it added.
The direction of the Election Commission has been brought to the notice of all concerned contesting candidates and political parties.
The CEO appealed to all the concerned contesting candidates, their election agents, representatives of various political parties and other concerned stakeholders to extend their full co-operation to the election machinery deployed at such designated SoO Camps.