Imphal: Just a day ahead of the 12th Manipur Legislative Assembly polls, at least 400 women are all set to man polling booths in Imphal East district.

In a first-of-its-kind in the state assembly election, all the 88 polling stations under Yaiskul and Wangkhei assembly constituencies in Imphal East will be completely manned by women polling personnel to assist the voters during the first phase poll on February 28 (Monday).

According to Pooja Elangbam, IAS, returning officer of Yaiskul and Wangkhei, the women polling personnel underwent intensive training on four rounds. They were trained by officials on filing up the forms and operating EVM machines.

“Most of the women who have come for training are very enthusiastic and eager to learn. At the same time, some of them are a bit hesitant because specially about staying the night in the polling station one day ahead of the polls. But we reasoned with them and calmed them down to explain that these stations are in urban areas and very near most of their homes,” said RO Elangbam.

In terms of their safety measurement, the returning officer said police personnel will also be travelling with them to the polling stations and stationed with them in the same building in different rooms. 

“There should be no cause for any problem. The officials, including me, will be there round the clock in case of any requirement,” she added.

Feeling nervous

“This will be my first official assignment as a polling personnel. So, initially I was feeling a little nervous and stressed, but after receiving hands on training, I am feeling much more confident. As a woman, we shouldn’t feel hesitant to learn new things and adapt it wholeheartedly,” said Kimi Soubam, who is a lecturer by profession and a polling personnel.

“These women personnel are well trained and well equipped, and since they already have the requisite skills and are literate, it shouldn’t be difficult for them. In fact, I feel that women are better at conflict resolution and bringing down any kind of law and order situation to a more peaceful level,” stated RO Elangbam.

She further said that women are more than capable of manning  and conducting the electoral process. And it is very vital part of democracy and they are also very proud to play a crucial role.

They will be the role model for not just other polling stations in Manipur but also for all over India that they are able to conducted peaceful and ensure free and fair election, she added.

Notably, a total of 600 all women polling stations have been identified across the state, which means one out of every five polling stations will be manned by women polling personnel for the first time in Manipur state election.

The elections to the 60-seat assembly in Manipur would be held in two phases on February 28 and March 5. Counting of votes will take place on March 10.

Also read: Six Manipuri students stranded in war-hit Ukraine en route to Romania: CM Biren Singh

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