An apex body of Christian organisations in Manipur on Thursday demanded the rescheduling of the first phase of the state Assembly poll and said that it may approach court against the Election Commission of India if the date is not changed, the Imphal Free Press reported.

The All Manipur Christian Organisation has objected to the first phase of the election being held on a Sunday (February 27), saying that it is a day of worship for the Christian community.

On Thursday, the apex body held a meeting with church leaders at the Manipur Baptist Convention in Imphal’s Chingmeirong area to discuss the matter. The chief of the All Manipur Christian Organisation, S Prim Vaiphei, said that the participants at the meeting decided to give a reminder to the Election Commission to reschedule the first phase of the poll.

Vaiphei added that members of the Christian community will meet Chief Minister N Biren Singh to press for their demands.

Meanwhile, the All Tribal Students’ Union Manipur also urged the poll panel to hold the first phase of the election on a different day.

“The tribals who constitute about 43% of the state population are predominantly Christian and for Christians, Sunday is a day that is holy and sacred,” the ATSUM said. “It is a day for rest and worship.”

The union said that holding the election on a Sunday will prevent many people from participating in it.

The Manipur Assembly election will be held in two phases. The second phase will be held on March 3, and the results will be announced on March 10.

On January 17, the Election Commission had deferred the Punjab Assembly elections to February 20 from February 14. Political parties had urged the panel to postpone the election due to Guru Ravidas Jayanti.

Several leaders had said that many residents will leave for Uttar Pradesh’s Varanasi city around the polling date to celebrate the poet’s birth anniversary.

The leaders had expressed fears that these residents will not be able to cast their votes in such a scenario.

Manipur Congress administers loyalty pledge

Meanwhile, the Congress in Manipur on Thursday administered a loyalty pledge to its candidates in the Assembly election, the Economic Times reported.

Leader of Opposition Okram Ibobi Singh led the candidates in taking the oath at the Kangla Fort in Imphal.

In the 2017 Assembly election, the Congress had emerged as the single largest party but N Biren Singh of the Bharatiya Janata Party later became the chief minister.

In the past five years, 42% of the Congress’ MLAs in Manipur have switched to the BJP, according to The Times of India.