Chapter 19

Four Trinamool MLAs join Congress party

Imphal Free Press

IMPHAL | September 18: In yet another drama the Congress which lost one MLA recently gained four. Four Trinamul Congress MLAs today joined the party in the presence of AICC general secretary, CP Joshi, AICC secretary in-charge Manipur, Avinash Pande and secretary AICC, Vijyalaxmi Sadhoo.

The MPCC organised a reception of the four MLAs at Congress Bhawan here. Th Shyamkumar (Andro AC), I Ibohalbi Singh (Oinam AC), O Lukhoi (Wangoi AC) and K Sarat, (Konthoujam AC) were warmly received. The four MLAs increased the strength of Congress to 51 while the Opposition has been reduced to only four - two BJP, one LJP and one NCP member.

Trinamool, which returned seven MLAs in the 2012 Assembly election has now no member in the House now with an effective strength of 55. While two members, who were disqualified under Tenth Schedule were elected on BJP tickets in the by-elections another member has expired. Welcoming the members Chief Minister Okram Ibobi said their joining will strengthen the Congress party.

Terming those who recently shifted to BJP as opportunist, Ibobi said the BJP leaders are also opportunists who change flags every election. Instead of anger he feels pity for these souls, he mocked. Taking a jibe on Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s slogan of rooting out Congress from the Indian soil, he said Congress is not a vegetable or a weed that can be rooted out. Only the electorate who believes in democracy can remove any party from power, he said, adding that people of the state are not fools who can be swayed by such slogans.

Further, Ibobi said in the coming 2017 election, Congress will expose the claimed contribution made by the BJP towards the welfare of Manipur, which is actually nil. Smart City Project, Sewerage Project and other infrastructural development which are being taken up in the state are Congress’s contribution, he said. Speaking at the reception function, Shyamkumar said the four MLAs including himself have decided to desert the AITC because the party in spite of having 43 MPs in the Parliament House has failed to raise the issue of Naga ‘Framework Agreement’. Though we have approached the party leaders many time in this regard, he added.

He further said the second issue is of safeguarding the territorial boundary of Manipur. AITC has an ambiguous stand on it, and moreover the party does not have any say on the issue of ILP, which is very insulting, he said.

Ex-MLA Rajen earns villagers' wrath

The Sangai Express

Imphal, September 18 2016: Former Lamshang AC MLA S Rajen's remark on the playground of Haorang Sabal has earned the wrath of the villagers. Speaking to reporters at Manipur Press Club, Unity Development Club secretary Konthoujam Nilabondhu said that people of Haorang Sabal would boycott Rajen if he does not make an apology for stating that the village does not have any playground.

Nilabondhu said that the former MLA had recently stated that Haorang Sabal does not have any playground and a paddy field had been wrongly taken as a playground in the village. Stating that Rajen's remark was baseless and it was an insult to the people of Haorang Sabal, Nilabondhu said that the villagers would oppose such comments which had been made with an intention of playing politics.

The secretary clarified that incumbent MLA W Brajabidhu bought a land measuring around one 'Sangam' (approximately 0.6250 acre or 27225 sq ft) worth Rs 3.5 lakh with the funds from LADF on July 30, 2014 to develop it as a village playground. The land was acquired after due consultation with Unity Development Club, Haorang Sabal Awang Leikai Meira Paibi, Makha Leikai Meira Paibi, Khunung Meira Paibi and Haorang Sabal Lai Committee to solve the problem of not having any village playground, he said.

Nilabondhu further said that apart from planning to acquire another one 'Sangam' of land to expand the playground, the MLA had also assured to construct a connecting road. S Rajen's remark of terming the playground as a paddy field had enraged the villagers, Nilabondhu said and added that the people of Haorang Sabal would boycott him if he does not make an apology for his statement, which could tarnish the image of the village.

CM inaugurates first open heart surgery

The Sangai Express

Imphal, September 18 2016: Chief Minister Okram Ibobi Singh today inaugurated the State's first open heart surgery at Sky Hospital and Research Centre, RIMS Road, Imphal. Following the inauguration session, a function was held at IMA House, Lamphelpat. Speaking at the function, Chief Minister O Ibobi Singh said that both the Government and private sectors need to join hands and work in tandem to accomplish the desired target in health and education sectors.

He reiterated that the State Government is giving top priority to health and education sectors. The Chief Minister also congratulated chairman and chief cardiologist of Sky Group of Hospitals Dr L Shyamkishore Singh of Sky Hospital for the achievement. The Chief Minister continued that with the availability of open heart surgery facility in the State, patients from other neighbouring States and even from neighbouring country Myanmar can now avail the health care facilities which can largely improve the health sector and boost medical tourism in the State.

The talents of our youth in the field of medicine, engineering and other IT sectors are not below the standard of others, the Chief Minister maintained and added that with the improved medical technology and infrastructure, the dream to make the State a medical tourism hub can be achieved. Dr Shyamkishore said 23 open heart surgeries and 6 closed heart surgeries have been successfully performed before formally inaugurating the open heart surgery at Sky Hospital & Research Centre.

More join BJP

Imphal Free Press

IMPHAL | Sep 19

Former Congress MLA Laishram Radhakishore of Oinam A/C, former Congress candidate Sapam Ranjan Singh in Konthoujam A/C, former Trinamool Congress candidate in Sekmai constituency H Dingo and some elected representatives of local bodies reportedly joined the BJP today. The BJP is expected to announce their joining tomorrow.

Congress all set to kick-start campaigning from Sept end

Imphal Free Press

IMPHAL | September 19

The Manipur Pradesh Congress Committee is all set to kickstart the 2017 election campaign with political conferences across the state from September 27, according to sources.

It is learnt that the party will conduct a series of party workers’ political conferences in all assembly constituencies from September last week, with such conferences held simultaneously at different constituencies in a day with a target to cover all 60 Assembly constituencies by October 11.

Inside sources also informed that to overlook the success of the conferences, the party had recently appointed 14 party officials including the likes of MLAs RK Anand, Chalton Lien Amo, N Loken and former ministers K Ranjit, N Biren as panel of Media and Political debate/ discussion for the MPCC.

The panel also includes former minister DD Thaisii. The party, it is learnt, has also arranged 67 leaders including party MLAs, ministers and office bearers as panel of talkers for the series of political conferences. Sources also said the party president has issued an order asking all district in charges to attend the meetings in time in their respective districts as their normal duty and other chiefs of frontal/cells and departments of the party to attend at their respective district and BCC.

It is also learnt that in the hill districts, the political conferences would be organised simultaneously for one entire district on a day. The decision was taken due to the present law and order problems in the hill districts, informed sources.

AITMC MLAs who join INC may face music from central leadership

Imphal Times

Imphal, September 19 2016: The four Trinamool Congress MLAs who joined the Indian National Congress (INC) yesterday is likely to face music from its central leadership as the four MLAs were alleged of not informing about the matters to the central leadership. MI Khan, the Vice President of the State Unit Trinamool Congress While talking to reporters said that the 4 MLAs did not inform the matter about their resignation from the Party's state Unit or its central leadership.

He said that that allegation levelled against the TMC is baseless as all works are done in consultation with the state Unit of TMC. MI Khan further said that they cannot simply defect the party and joined another party as it was against the 10 Scheduled of the Indian Constitution and is punishable as according to the Anti-defection law. He added that Central leadership of the Trinamool Congress will not remain quite to the issue and will surely sought legal action against the four MLAs soon or later.

Mention may be made that TMC MLAs Th Shyamkumar, Dr.I Ibohalbi, O Lukhoi and K.Sharat had joined the INC yesterday after leaving the TMC. The 4 MLAs were welcome by the INC and President of the MPCC-I TN Haokip had approved their joining to the TMC. TMC had 7 MLA in the 10th Manipur Legislative Assembly, of this 6 remained after M.Kunjo expired and was replaced by a congress candidate in bye election. Two others were disqualified and re-elected as BJP MLAs in the bye-election. Now the TMC is left with no MLAs today.

Minister seeks 100 pc funding

The Sangai Express

Imphal, September 19 2016: Rural Development and Panchayati Raj Minister Moirangthem Okendro today urged the Government of India to provide 100 per cent funding for implementation of Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana (PMGSY) in the North East region in general and Manipur in particular in view of the limited resources these States have.

He was speaking at a conference of RD&PR Ministers of different States held today at Assam Administrative Staff College, Khanapara, Assam. The conference was chaired by Union Rural Development Minister Narendra Singh Tomar.

Trinamool to Take Stern Action Against Rebel Manipur MLAs

Northeast Today

20 Sep: The All India Trinamool Congress (AITC) will soon take legal action against four of its rebels MLAs who had defected to the Congress. “The four MLAs did not inform the matter about the resignation from the AITC Manipur state unit or to its central leadership before joining Congress,” revealed TMC Manipur unit vice-president MI Khan.

Khan informed that they could not defect from one party and join another as they were elected under the ticket of AITC. They are now liable to be punished under anti-defection law.

Four AITC MLAs – Th Shyamkumar, who was also the president of the Manipur State AITC, I Ibohalbi, O Lukhoi and K Sarat – had joined the Indian National Congress yesterday. Earlier 7 MLAs of AITC were elected in the 10th Manipur Legislative Assembly. Of them one M Kunjo expired and two others including Kh Joykishan and Th Bishwajit were disqualified under 10th Schedule of the Constitution and re-elected as BJP MLAs in the last by-elections. Presently, AITC Manipur state unit has no MLAs in the 60-member State Legislative Assembly.

Red carpet rolled out for former MLA, former candidates
BJP likens Cong to 'useless, expired medicine'

The Sangai Express

Imphal, September 20 2016: BJP Manipur Pradesh has compared the State's Congress Government to an expired, useless medicine. This observation was echoed during a felicitation function today at BJP's Nityaipat Chuthek office in honour of a group of people who joined BJP anew.

Those who were formally admitted in BJP today included ex-MLA Laishram Radhakishore (Oinam AC), former candidate of State Assembly election Dr Sapam Ranjan (Konthoujam AC), H Dingo (Sekmai AC), Councillors, Pradhans and Up-Pradhans.

Speaking at the gathering, BJP Manipur Pradesh president K Bhabananda said more and more people have been reposing their faith in BJP. The four MLAs who joined Congress party a few days back are unlikely to be re-elected whereas BJP candidates have fair chances of victory, he added. Congress party is now ruling only in 7 per cent of the country's territory.

It is going down a path of total downfall. In Manipur too, more and more people have lost their confidence in Congress party. The Congress Government's popularity is declining fast on account of its misplaced policies, abuse of power, inability to deliver good governance and failure to work for the welfare of people, Bhabananda said.

People of Manipur are now yearning for a political change in the shape of BJP Government after routing the Congress Government. BJP has its doors wide open for all the people who wish to serve the masses sincerely, he said. BJP State Election Management Committee convenor Th Chaoba said that Congress party has been riding on the backs of Mahatma Gandhi and Jawaharlal Nehru.

Those freedom fighters would have never advised Congress party to indulge in rampant graft practices and commit all kinds of wrongdoings. Many Congress MPs and MLAs are currently on bail.

In Manipur too, many people have been killed in fake encounters and the State Government is infamous for rampant corruption during recruitment exercises. Congress party was enjoying majority in Delhi and Assam but the party has been routed in both the States. Likewise, there are fair chances of BJP scoring a landslide victory in the forthcoming Manipur State Legislative Assembly election.

The four AITC MLAs who joined Congress party recently first approached BJP but their approach was turned down by BJP. They joined Congress as they had no other option, Chaoba claimed. The bad guys teaming up with bad guys was only natural and this was testified by the admission of the four MLAs into Congress party, Chaoba remarked. MLA Kh Joykishan remarked that Congress party has been working for Congress party while BJP has been working for the public.

BJP is fully prepared to uproot Congress party from the soil of Manipur. The Congress Government is run by a gang of thugs who have been promoting wanton corruption and smuggling of drugs, Joykishan added.

MPCC's important functionaries and former Congress MLA join BJP

Imphal Times

Imphal, September 20 2016: Finally the true picture of real politics in the Manipur's complex political theater has started showing up with important functionaries of MPCC leaving the INC and joining the BJP today.

Former Secretary of MPCC, Dr.Sapam Ranjan, who contested as INC candidate in the 10th Manipur Legislative Assembly Election at Konthoujam constituency and former Congress MLA Laishram Radhakishore of Oinam Assembly constituency along with and former Trinamool Congress candidate in Sekmai constituency H Dingo along with various elected representatives of local bodies today formally joined BJP Manipur Pradesh.

The reverse is assumptive for Dr.Sapam Ranjan and Laishram Radhakishore. Two days back MLA K Sarat who is a keen contender of Ranjan and I.Ibohalbi another rival of Laishram Radhakishore had joined the INC. Welcoming the new face, Convener of State Election Management Committee of BJP Manipur Pradesh, Th Chaoba expressed confident of winning over 40 seats in the 60 seats Manipur Legislative Assembly.

"In the upcoming election of 2017, BJP will win more than 40 candidates including 26 candidates in the valley and 14 from the Hill district", Chaoba said with full confidence. He insured that BJP will form government in the next election. Citing example of how Shila Dixit Government was dethrone in Delhi election and also how BJP came to power in Assam, Chaoba said that having large number of MLAs will not help them in winning the election. Ksh Babananda, President BJP Manipur Pradesh while welcoming the new comers said that BJP will not welcome those who comes to the party with motives to contest election but will always provide room who had come up with motives to serve the people.

He further added that congress is an expired medicine which is being plague by corruption. BJP MLA Khumukcham Joykishan, while speaking on the occasion said that people knows that BJP is the only savior and everybody wanted to join the party. But in the case of the 4 TMC candidates, who had recently joined the INC, Joykishan said that they might have joined the party due to fear of disqualification. The four MLAs had already approached the party, he added. He further said that except for the drug smugglers and corrupt politicians, no one is having interest in Congress Party.

Election 2017- Agenda Manipur

Imphal Times Editorial, September 21 2016

What actually will be the agenda of the upcoming Assembly Election is a matter of serious concern for the people of this bleeding state. While Inner Line Permit System, Territorial integrity, Scheduled Tribe demand, etc. are the main issues of the valley base people; demand for a separate state put up by sections of Kuki Rebel groups presently ensuing peace deal with the Government of India and also the long pending settlement of the NSCN-IM is a serious issue for the Hill districts.

Even though each issue are of the interest of different major communities in the state, all the issues are antagonistic in nature and it stands tough for every political party to grapple the issues together to get majority in the upcoming election. ‘Election 2017’, perhaps is going to decide the future of Manipur.

Unlike, yesteryears; result of this election is having potential of redrawing the boundary or strengthening the territorial integrity of this state if the politically matured people of the state fail to handle it with extra care. Whether Manipur of today (in term of its territorial boundary) stands as it ‘is’ or ‘not’ will certainly be depended to the result of this election which is only some 6 months from now. This is how some highly politically sensible people felt.

And it is natural that, for these politically sensible people, this election is important of two factors : -1) NSCN-IM is hoping a lasting solution with the India Government after the signing of the infamous ‘framework agreement’ and 2) the Kuki rebel groups ensuing political dialogue with the Center and State Govt. had taken decision to demand a separate Kuki state. Due to this, those favouring the cause of NSCN-IM will certainly support the political party which understands their problem and those with the Kuki separatists will go with the political party supporting them.

But one disadvantage is that the demand of the NSCN-IM and that of the Kuki separatists group can never go together as the NSCN-IM leadership wanted the Kuki Rebel group to sail the Naga boat. On the other hand those against the two will definitely go for the political party that opposed both these demand. Is it the Congress led political party that will keep intact the territorial boundary of the state or the one led by BJP that will stand for the historically recognized boundary? It is politics and no one can predict what would happen.

But one thing that people know is that it is open fight between group led by Indian National Congress (INC) and the other by Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). Both are equally strong when it comes to the state of Manipur as Congress is in power in the state government while BJP is ruling the center. Both the Congress and the BJP has started their political gambit for the upcoming 2017 Manipur Legislative Assembly election playing by holding the cards of each community. But in the main political theatre, agenda for both the INC and the BJP is clear now.

INC stands with the same territorial integrity issue while, BJP is striking with the developmental issue without leaving aside the sensational issue of territorial integrity which might affect them in the valley area. Both BJP and Congress is playing tough as they know that number matters in democracy. One thing for sure is that, none of these parties are showing interest to the controversial Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) 1958. It is time to see how the people responded or reacted to this highly sensible political drama.

2 Congress Strongmen Join Saffron Brigade in Manipur

Northeast Today

Sep 11: Manipur Pradesh Congress Committee (MPCC) receives another major setback on Tuesday when former minister and Oinam MLA Laishram Radhakishore and former secretary of MPCC and Sekmai MLA Sapam Ranjan deserted the party and joined the BJP.

While welcoming the new faces, Manipur BJP Chief, K Bhabananda, said, “People are fully aware of which party is stronger in the present situation in the country.” Further taking a dig at the congress, the BJP state chief stated, “Congress is like a medicine past its expiry date and has no chance of treating patients. The main factor of any government failure is due to misuse of power for their personnel interest,” he added.

He asserted that Congress has now become a company of some narrow minded politicians who indulge in corrupt practices. “This chronic disease can be removed only when the BJP comes to power in the state,” Bhabananda added.

NPF may not do well this time in coming Manipur’s most complicated electoral war

By Oken Jeet Sandham
Imphal Free Press, 21 Sep

As I fairly analyze the ongoing electioneering scenario in Manipur’s most unpredictable political games, the regional Naga People’s Front (NPF) may likely to suffer this time. The complication of the NPF is their allying with the BJP, which is fighting with whatever available means to dethrone the strong Congress Government headed by O Ibobi Singh in Manipur.

One should know the political dynamics that for Narendra Modi, the ousting of O Ibobi Singh Government is more important than solving the longstanding Naga political issue. In doing this, Modi or for that matter any BJP leaders from the Center including their Union Ministers will do anything to please the Valley people.

O Ibobi Singh, who has been running Manipur for 15 years by exploiting the sentiments of the people particularly the valley people, has come to know that he can no longer play with the “Manipur territorial integrity card” to win the elections for the fourth term. He has been waiting to hit the political jackpot as and when any Central BJP leaders start opening the “sensitive Naga political issue.” But the Central BJP leaders and even Naga political leaders in Manipur and Nagaland have come to realize that by opening the sensitive Naga issue will be giving only “political oxygen” to the Manipuri strongman.

The recent acceptance of four NPF MLAs' resignation by the Speaker of Manipur Legislative Assembly has made a great disadvantage to four of them and also their party as well. Had the Speaker accepted their resignation within a month or two, the political fortune of the four would have been different. But now, due to the fast changing political scenario in Manipur, the BJP started playing critical role in the Hill areas holding crucial meetings.

The four Manipur NPF lawmakers had tendered their resignation from the Memberships of the Manipur Assembly with effect from September 4 last year and the Assembly Speaker has accepted their resignation after one year. They tendered their resignation in protest against the three Bills - the Protection of Manipur People Bill, 2015, the Manipur Land Revenue and Land Reforms (7th Amendment) Bill, 2015, and the Manipur Shops and Establishments (2nd Amendment) Bill, 2015.
Saying that their tendering resignation "as a supreme sacrifice for the protection of the short and long term interests of all the tribal people including Nagas inhabiting the hill districts of Manipur," they asserted that the resignation from the Assembly was a "serious and severe protest against the consistent, cruel, crude and unpardonable anti-tribal and anti-Naga attitude, approach and actions of the Ibobi Singh Government” as evident from its three Bills and the Resolution on the Indo-Naga Peace Accord.

Although NPF President Dr. Shurhozelie, while talking to press in May this year at Kohima, said his NPF Party would win around 14 seats in the Hills of Manipur and the BJP would also win a sizeable number of seats from the Valley areas in the coming Manipur General elections due early next year, there appears to be a tacit political understanding between the BJP at the Center and the NPF not to open up the sensitive “Naga political issue” in the run up of the Manipur Assembly elections this time.

The President, however, said his NPF Party did not have any alliance with the BJP in Manipur, though it (BJP) was an ally in Nagaland under the Democratic Alliance of Nagaland (DAN) banner. “I think the BJP alliance with NPF in Nagaland will have some impact on Manipur too in the coming elections,” he said. “But as of now, we do not have such an alliance with the BJP in Manipur.”

As seen from the strange political development that has been going on for quite some time in Manipur, it appears that the priority of the Central BJP and the NPF is to defeat O Ibobi Singh’s 15-year Congress regime in Manipur, and not talking about the solution of the “longstanding Naga political issue” at least this time.

There is possibility of BJP requesting the NPF to see that the BJP candidates are set up in almost all the Naga areas with the assurance that they will be forming the next non-Congress Government headed by the BJP in Manipur. It is yet to be seen as to how NPF will face the coming Assembly elections in Manipur, though Dr Shurhozelie said his party with the BJP would be forming the next Government in Manipur. “Okram Ibobi Singh Government will not come back in Manipur,” he said.

If NPF refuses for seat adjustment, then there is likely to be friendly contests in Naga areas in Manipur. In that case, there is possibility of BJP eating into NPF votes in Naga areas in Manipur and the greatest loser is likely to be NPF this time. Yet, O Ibobi Singh, the Chief Minister of Manipur, cannot be written off as of now. There is still six months to go to the Manipur Assembly elections. Let us watch the greatest political drama and games of the 21st Century.

Icons Ratan, Renedy, Tonthoi to spread voter awareness
For first time Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail in the pipeline

Imphal Free Press

IMPHAL | September 21

Three state icons - famous theatre personality Padmashree Ratan Thiyam, international footballer P Renedy and renowned film actress L Tonthoi – will spread awareness to voters during Systematic Voters’ Education and Electoral Participation (SVEEP) campaigns.

A statement issued by the Election Commission of India here today said the focus of the SVEEP campaign is engagement and participation of electors in the summary revision and preparation of error-free and updated electoral rolls.

“Towards this end three state icons have been identified viz. Padmashree Ratan Thiyam, famous theatre personality, P Renedy, international footballer and L Tonthoi, famous actress,” the statement said. The commission emphasised the need to identify district level icons. Campus ambassadors have been appointed in all 80 colleges in Manipur to focus on the enrolment of young electors in 18-19 aged categories. Addressing a press conference chief election commissioner Nasim Zaidi said 18,07,843 voters are enrolled while three lakh eligible voters mostly of youngsters are yet to be enrolled.

He said for the first time in Manipur Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) designed to allow voters to verify their votes cast, to detect possible fraud or malfunction and to provide a means to audit the electronic results will be introduced in some selected assembly segments during the upcoming assembly election. An eight member Election Commission team led by Zaidi arrived here yesterday to oversee preparation for the Assembly election. Zaidi said the election will be held before the expiry of the current term on March 18.

The commission yesterday met representatives of political parties to understand their issues and concerns and also seek their suggestions for free, fair and peaceful election. The purpose of the visit is also to examine the status of planning for convenience of voters and to review the arrangement for facilitation and benefit of voters with special needs like PWDs etc. The commission met DCs, SPs, DIGs/IGs, DGP, home secretary, the chief secretary and other senior officers.

Mass recruitment rallies being initiated by the state government should be discouraged, said Zaidi said adding such practices are indirectly related with the abuse of money for election. He said flying squads will be engaged and GPS equipped vehicles will be utilised to track the movement of the squads for prompt action. The commission will take all steps to curb the menace of bribing electors through distribution of cash, liquor, gifts, feast etc and a robust action plan will be prepared and activated well in time, he said. Stating that there are 2794 polling stations in Manipur he said for free, fair and peaceful election CCTVs coverage, micro observers and Webcasting will be used at maximum polling stations.

Giving preference to incorporate Information Technology in the process of election, he mentioned that a mobile application will be launched. The application will help voters and candidates seeking permissions and expressing grievances during the election.

Voter Verified Paper Audit Trail to be introduced in forthcoming Assembly polls
Pol parties complain against massive recruitment drives

The Sangai Express

Imphal, September 21 2016: Many political parties have lodged complaints with the Election Commission of India (ECI) against the massive recruitment drives being carried out by the State Government. Meanwhile Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Dr Nasim Zaidi has announced that Voter Verified Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) would be introduced in the forthcoming State Assembly election.

After collecting reports about the ongoing preparations for the forthcoming election from political parties, DCs, SPs, the Chief Secretary, the Additional Chief Secretary (Finance and Home) and the DGP, the ECI team held a press meet today at Classic    Grande, Chingmeirong. Dr Nasim Zaidi said that WPAT will be used in some selected Assembly Constituencies for the first time. During their meetings with the ECI team, various political parties aired their grievances and concerns such as abuse of money power for gaining the favour of voters, misuse of official machinery, Government resources, large-scale recruitment drives being carried out by the State Government.

The ECI team also noted their suggestions for maximum use of webcasting and CCTV coverage of booths in vulnerable and insurgency affected areas, maximum deployment of micro-observers, accessibility of presiding officers and polling staff for transparency in their functioning and neutrality and impartiality to ensure free, fair and peaceful election. Taking due note of the complaints raised by political parties against the massive recruitment drives, the ECI team has directed the Chief Secretary to abide by all relevant rules and not to encourage any unlawful activity, stated Dr Nasim Zaidi.

He said that most of the political parties expressed keen desire to hold the Assembly election in a single phase. They also urged for announcement of election date three months before enforcement of model code of conduct, removal of all unauthorised banners/posters/ festoons/ flags etc. The Commission has directed the State and district level officials to reassess the vulnerable locations and prepare a comprehensive security management plan from the grassroots level upwards.

Webcasting and CCTV arrangements shall be maximised and shall be done at all check posts, critical locations, inter-border security posts. The Commission also directed to prepare complete database of Central and State Government employees for assessment of deployable strength of election personnel in different categories. Mandatory certification course for ROs would be organised so that the they don't commit errors. The Commission shall take steps to curb the menace of bribing electors through distribution of cash, liquor, gifts, feasts etc.

And a robust action plan shall be prepared and activated well in time with the co-ordinated efforts of Banks, Income Tax authorities (Investigating Wing), Customs, Excise and Taxation authorities and Police Officials, said the CEC. The Commission also directed the State Election Machinery to ensure effective monitoring, vigilance, comprehensive planning and discipline at all levels to instil confidence in the electorate to exercise their franchise without fear, coercion, intimidation or inducement.

The Commission has further directed that regular press briefings must be held by the CEO and the DEOs and all crucial information on election related matters should be periodically informed to all stake holders through media. All election-related reports, complaints and issues highlighted in the media must be taken note of and the field functionaries should take up corrective actions promptly, Dr Nasim Zaidi added.

Enough power for next 50 years, Ibobi promises

Imphal Free Press

IMPHAL | September 21

Chief Minister Okram Ibobi Singh today said his government is taking steps to ensure that there will be adequate power supply in the state for the next 50 years. He said under funding from the DoNER ministry, a 400 Kv sub-station is under-construction at Thoubal Khunou and plans are on to construct another 400 Kv sub-station at Yurembam.

The sub-station at Thoubal Khunou will supply power to Imphal East, Ukhrul, Thoubal and Chandel districts whereas the proposed station at Yurembam will supply power to Imphal West, Senapati, Tamenglong, Bishnupur and Churachandpur districts, he said.

The CM was addressing the closing function of the state Open Ranking Table Tennis Tournament-2016 at the Thoubal Indoor stadium. The Chief Minister also announced that there is a plan to start construction of a multi-purpose indoor stadium at Thoubal Kshetri Leikai Haotabi under NEC funding, at an estimated cost of Rs 14 crore. Ibobi also said that his government is taking up projects which are beneficial for the future generation of the state on priority basis.

He also lauded the achievements of sportspersons of the state and said it is only due to the competence and skills of the state’s sports players that they are able to represent such a big country like India in the international arena. As an act to encourage the players, the government has been providing some monetary awards as well as suitable government jobs, he added.

ECI takes note on the large scale recruitment in government offices; assures free and fair poll

Imphal Times

Imphal, September 21 2016: Taking serious note to the complaints from various political parties regarding the rampant misused by government offices by notifying large scale recruitment close to the forthcoming election, Chief Election Commissioner of India Dr.Nazim Zaidi today said that the ECI will put effective mechanism to ensure the smooth conduct of the entire poll process in a free, fair, peaceful and participatory manner.

Talking to media persons at Hotel Classic Grande here in Imphal Dr.Nzim Zaidi said that the ECI has directed the State Election Machinery to ensure effective monitoring, vigilance, comprehensive planning and discipline at all levels to address the concern of the political parties and to instil confidence in the electorate to exercise their francis without fear, coercion, intimidation or inducement.

The CEC along with his team arrived here in the state yesterday and leaves today after taking stock of the election preparation in the state. During his stayed here in Imphal, the CEC and team met various political parties representatives as well as the DCs, SPs, DIGs, IGs, DGP, Home Secretary and the Chief Secretary of Manipur. Speaking to media persons before leaving Imphal Zaidi assured the media persons that all suggestions and complaints will be address in time.

He further said that all the party expressed their worries on Law and order situation as the influence of insurgent organizations both in valley and hill districts is a serious threats. In this matter the commission has directed state and district level officials to reassess the vulnerable locations and prepare a comprehensive security management plan from the grass root level upwards, the CEC said.

He further added that the commission has also directed for CCTV Webcasting at maximum polling booths as well as to all sensitive locations wherever possible. According to the CEO Manipur total voters available on Electoral Roll is 18,07,843 voters.

The photo coverage in the electoral roll is also reported to be 100% and EPIC coverage is 98%.ECE Dr.Dr.Nazim Zaidi expressed satisfaction to the performance of the CEO Manipur. Meanwhile, the ECE has announced renowned theatre personality Padmasgri Ratan Thiyam, International Footballer, P Renedy and renowned actor L Tonthoi as the state level campaigner for SVEEP campaign to field the critical gap during electoral preparation with the public.

BJP points accusing finger at Speaker

The Sangai Express

Imphal, September 21 2016: BJP Manipur Pradesh has accused the Speaker of the Manipur Legislative Assembly of abusing the 1 Oth Schedule of the Constitution. Speaking to media persons at their Nityaipat Chuthek office today, BJP MLA Kh Joykishan alleged that the Speaker has rendered the Constitution meaningless.

Disqualification cases filed in 2014 against five MSCP MLAs who joined Congress and one LJP MLA are still pending. Similar disqualification cases were filed against the four AITC MLAs who joined Congress recently. "On the other hand, the Speaker issued a disqualification order on May 24 last year for three MLAs including Thongam Bishwajit and myself', Joykishan said.

"Even though Bishwajit and me were re-elected in the by-election, the disqualification order pertaining to the third MLA was stayed by the High Court of Manipur", he continued.

While the disqualification case was filed against four MLAs, the disqualification order pertained to only three MLAs. It only testified that the Speaker was partial, Joykishan said. The Speaker's biased attitude was exposed further when he kept his judgement reserved for a prolonged period. BJP Manipur Pradesh would launch a dhama against such unethical conduct of the Speaker from October 1.BJP would not remain silent to the massive recruitment drives launched by the State Government recently and the anomalies committed in the process, added the MLA.

It appeared that the authorities concerned have been hand-picking candidates starting from issuance of admit cards and shortlisting of candidates for interview for appointment of 155 ANMs/FHWs in the Directorate of Health Services, Joykishan alleged.

CPI espouses Irabot's ideology

The Sangai Express

Imphal, September 21 2016: CPI Manipur State Council Secretary Moirangthem Nara has stated that the people of Manipur need to follow the footsteps of Lamyanba Hijam Irabot in order to protect and promote the integrity of Manipur and its pluralistic character.

He was speaking the 68th Manipurgi Apunbagi Shaktam Kankhiba Numit which was held today at the Lamlai Irabot Park.

He said that the present generation ought not forget the sacrifices made by Irabot in order to protect the integrity of Manipur and bring about a progressive society. Dr Nara appealed to the people to elect representatives who understand the impulse of the masses. Irabot Celebration Committee secretary Laishram Sotinkumar asserted that people can certainly bring about a revolutionary change in Manipur if the masses are sincere enough to follow the footsteps of Lamyanba Irabot.

He then called upon the masses to collectively pursue Irabot's dream for a united and progressive Manipur. As in the previous years, a large number of people gathered at Yourabung Primary School and they marched up to Pungdongbam Event memorial site. Then they gathered at the Lamlai Irabot Park, Challou where they paid floral tributes to Lamyanba Irabot.

Many CPI leaders including Moirangthem Ibohal, L Thoiren, L Iboyaima, A Lala, Kh Surchand, H Bimol, Th Nabakumar, Ph Sanajit, Ph Bhadrapati. Ph Gokulchand and Cultural University consultant Chana Lukhoi were also present at the commemorative function. The gathering also paid floral tributes to the statue of late Minister Pheiroijam Parijat.

INC wins Wakotphai by-poll

Imphal Free Press

KANGPOKPI | September 22

The counting of votes in respect of 8-Wakotphai District Council Constituency under Sadar Hills ADC election held on September 17 ended peacefully at ADC/DEO office here today. Indian National Congress (INC) won the by-election with a difference of 396 votes from his nearest rival BJP candidate.

Altogether 3474 votes were counted valid from the six polling stations of constituency while 78 votes were rejected out of the 3552 total votes polled. INC candidate Seilen Lhoujem of N Teikhang village secured a total of 1935 votes and his rival BJP candidate R. Stoneson got 1539 votes having a difference of only 396 votes.

In Wakotphai polling station, out of 624 total votes polled, INC secured solid 620 votes and with 4 rejected votes BJP failed to get even a single vote while in Chaljang polling station, out of 518 total votes polled, INC managed to secure 514 votes and with no rejected vote BJP secured 4 votes.

INC got a total of 441 votes out of 446 total votes polled in Phoikon polling station and with 4 rejected votes BJP somehow managed to get one vote from Phoikon polling station while INC secured a total of 303 votes out of 307 total votes polled in K. Haimol Polling station, BJP got 3 votes and the remaining one vote has been rejected. Meanwhile, in Makui polling station, BJP secured 1182 votes out of 1195 total votes polled and INC managed to get only 3 votes with 10 votes has been declared rejected.

In Thaldara polling station, out of 462 total votes polled, BJP got 349 votes and INC managed to get 54 votes with a whopping 78 votes declared rejected.

Govt giving priority to education & health, says Ratankumar

Imphal Free Press

IMPHAL | September 22

Along with the up gradation of Bengoon High School to Bengoon Higher Secondary School, 24 lecturers and 4 lab attendants will be recruited said minister Education Kh Ratankumar during a ‘thanks giving function’ today at the school premises located at Mayang Imphal. Speaking as the chief guest, he said that the previous head master and assistant head master will also be promoted to Principal and Vice Principal respectively and in this regard cabinet decision have already been taken.

Ratankumar said that since his taking charge of minister of Education, his office has conducted a survey for the educational institution and after studying the feasibility aspects many of the schools and other educational institutions will be upgraded, and many are in the process of up gradation. The Congress government giving priority to the education and health sector, a number of part time teachers have been regularised and further recruitment for more teachers in government school are in the process, he said.

NPF focus on beef ban and atrocities on Christians

Imphal Free Press

UKHRUL | September 22

In a jibe to its ally in Nagaland, a Naga Peoples’ Front (NPF) leader has come against the beef ban in many states and alleged atrocities meted out against ‘Christian brethren in Hindu heartland’. NPF Manipur State Unit vice president Paul Muinao was speaking a one day political awareness campaign organized by 45-Chingai Area Unit NPF at Ngahui Junction on September 21.

“What the Congress government has done for the people of the state especially the hills, other than dispensing tall claims of all-round development, need not be further explained. There is total disconnect ... and corruption runs high," he said. Citing the ‘infamous ban’ imposed on beef meat and alleged atrocities meted out against Christians he said, “See what is happening in this country today with change of guard at the centre”

The main speaker of the event Wungnaoshang A Shimray, President NPF Ukhrul Division spoke at length on Article 371 C and people's obsession with the ruling government and development undercurrent. He said, “Article 371c is the heart and soul for us. However, our political leaders have failed to drive home the treasure trove that lies within.”

Goverment sent draft proposal of the ILPS bill to JCILPS

Imphal Times

Imphal, September 22 2016: Government has sent the draft proposal of the 'Manipur Regulation of Non-Local People Bill, 2016 for deliberation and to let the government know if there is any objection to the content from the side of the state government. Source said similar draft proposal had also been sent to all stakeholders including the Hill based Civil Society organization.

Mentioned may be made that the JCILPS has been urging the state government to produce and pass a legislation to check and control the influx of outsiders in the state by convening a special session before September 21 this year. Students' Wing and the Women Wings of the JCILPS has been undergoing series of agitation in the last few days demanding introduction of the ILPS in the state.

State AITC president

The Sangai Express

Imphal, September 21 2016: AITC State unit general secretary (administration) Tongbram Robindro has taken over as the party's State unit president. After AITC State unit president Th Shyamkumar left the party and joined Congress party together with three other MLAs, an emergency general body meeting was held at the party's Sanjenthong office yesterday.

The meeting unanimously elected T Rodindro as AITC State unit president and a representation was sent to the party ' s high command at Kolkata seeking their approval. The meeting entrusted T Robindro to take up necessary procedures so as to disqualify the four MLAs after due consultation with political and legal experts' .

The three AITC MLAs who quit the party and joined Congress along with Shyamkumar were Dr I Ibohalbi, O Lukhoi and K Sarat. Notably, T Robindro has been preparing to contest the forthcoming Assembly election in Thanga AC on AITC ticket. He lost the last Assembly election by just 171 votes.

Political Maneuvers

Imphal Free Press editorial, September 24

The recent witness of politicians severing ties with their own parties and joining other political parties ahead of the much-anticipated 11th State Assembly Election likely to be held in February is not surprising. Politics as a whole is unpredictable so are politicians. Literally, politics is the process of making decisions applying to all members of each group. It refers to achieving and exercising positions of governance - organized control over a human community, particularly a state. Furthermore, politics is the study or practice of the distribution of power and resources within a given community as well as the interrelationship between communities. Informal politics is understood as forming alliances, exercising power and protecting and advancing particular ideas or goals. Notably, this includes anything affecting one's daily life, such as the way an office or household is managed, or how one person or group exercises influence over another. Informal politics is typically understood as everyday politics, hence the idea that "politics is everywhere". A political party is a political organisation that typically seeks to attain and maintain political power within government, usually by participating in electoral campaigns, educational outreach or protest actions. Parties often espouse an expressed ideology or vision bolstered by a written platform with specific goals, forming a coalition among disparate interests.

With the State Assembly Election coming closer, people have been witnessing unprecedented political dramas for reasons best known to them. The joining of veteran Congress MLA Y Irabot, sitting MLA of Khurai Assembly Constituency, O Joy, ex- MPP MLA of Langthabal and N Mangi, ex-CPI MLA of Kumbi Assembly Constituency in Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is a clear indication of how politics is vulnerable to uncertainty and unpredictability. It was speculated that the Congress suffered a setback when one of its outspoken MLAs Y Irabot decided to leave the party to join the its arch rival BJP which is gaining momentum with the joining of many opposing party leaders and members into its fold. But the reigning Congress did a comeback with the unexpected joining of four Trinamool MLAs in the party, strengthening its bastion ahead of the decisive polls. Interestingly, the MLAs in the past were quick in attacking the ruling government over ranges of social issues mainly implementation of Inner Line Permit System (ILPS) or similar Act in the state to protect the indigenous people from the unchecked entry of outsiders. According to the party state president Thounaojam Shyamkumar, Trinamool MPs refused to take up the issue in the Parliament, contending that the party has no concern for the people of Manipur. In 2012, six Trinamool candidates were elected to the State Assembly. Three of them were disqualified by the House Speaker Th Lokeshwar Singh in 2015. But one was allowed to attend the House. Regardless of all the happenings surrounding the political gimmicks, it is up to the people to ascertain the unwarranted developments and decide whom to choose as their representatives and entrust faith in them through their valuable vote in the election of which the countdown has begun.  

Naoriya Pakhanglakpa women warn Anand

Imphal Free Press

IMPHAL | September 23

Local women folk of Konjeng Leikai ward number 7 and 8 staged a sit in protest today warning to boycott sitting MLA RK Anand in the upcoming Manipur Legislative Assembly general election 2017, if the MLA fails to proper implement the National Food Security Scheme in the Naoriya Pakhanglakpa Assembly constituency.

One of the protesters Sougrakpam Shila told media persons, we are demonstrating against the local MLA for allegedly distributing rice for two months allocated under the NFSA without distributing beneficiary cards to the people. She claimed the distribution of rice without distributing beneficiary cards has raised a lot suspicion among the people.

Free & Fair Election: Are you sure Dr. Nasim Zaidi?

Imphal Times Editorial, September 24

Even though the scheduled for the upcoming 11th Manipur Legislative Assembly Election has not yet been announced, it is speculated somewhere around January last or beginning of February in 2017. This is assumed as the tenure of the 10th Manipur Legislative Assembly is completing in and around the said time. The recent visit of the ECI team headed by the CEC Dr. Nasim Zaidi is significant as the scepticism of possible malpractice during the election is a serious concern not only for the non-congress political parties contesting the election but also for the politically sensitive people of the state.

It is an open secret that the ruling Congress party in the state government is tactfully utilising its power by inviting youths for the large scale recruitment at various government department for its election purpose. The matter was put to the notice of the CEC during his visit by various non-congress political parties and it is fortunate for the people that the Commission had taken note of it seriously. The assurance of the CEC to conduct the entire poll in a free, fair, peaceful and participatory manner is worth appreciating. But, will it be possible?

Manipur is all set to witness the 11th State Legislative Assembly Election since it regained statehood on January 21, 1972. At almost all elections conducted, particularly in the state of Manipur, not even a single political critic had ever mentioned that – the election was total free and fair. It was only the Election Office authority that said that except some few ignorable incidents at some polling booths, the election held was more or less peaceful and a successful one. But the reality is known to everyone, inside the polling station, booth capturing for a particular candidate, threats to workers of specific candidates, boycotting of candidates in specific localities, kidnapping etc. are the reality during election.

The introduction of EVM to control booth rigging, the completion of the Photo Electoral roll preparation and the near completion of EPIC and the assurance to install maximum number of CCTV camera at polling Booths to webcast the election process is a commendable effort of the Election Commission of India as it is an effort to reduce malpractice in the election. But one thing still remain sceptical to the politically sensitive electorate of the state is that, will the CEC of ECI be able to put halt to all the recruitment process that is already half way today.

And if not how could the people believe that there will be a free and fair election at which they don’t exactly have any power on either to declare the code-of-conduct on their will. At the time when the CEC announce about the enforcement code-of-conduct, already the recruitment process will be over. If so, then Congress party is surely moving a step ahead of all other political party while contesting the election.

Chapter 18

BJP Hiyanglam president refutes allegations

Imphal Free Press

IMPHAL | September 10

BJP Hiyanglam Mandal president Thoudam Hemanta has refuted allegations made against him by the Election Committee Langmeidong of Hiyanglam Assembly constituency. A statement of the president said it is unfortunate that allegations have been made to show him in a bad light.

On the other hand, secretary of Hiyanglam Kendra Women’s Development Committee Elangbam Mikhubi Devi has endorse support to Maibam Dhanabir for the upcoming Manipur Legislative Assembly Election 2017 said a press release of the committee. It said that the committee is constituted by more than 700 women members and will support Maibam Dhanabir for Hiyanglam BJP Mandal.  

Borobabu welcomes Wangkhei MLA’s decision

Imphal Free Press

IMPHAL| September 10

Reports of Wangkhei Assembly constituency MLA Yumkham Erabot’s decision to leave the Congress and join the BJP seem to have ruffled feathers especially of those who will be directly affected by the new political development ahead of the 11th Manipur Legislative Assembly election expected to be held early next year.

Reacting to the report, former speaker of the state Assembly and BJP leader Haobam Borobabu said the senior Congressman’s decision is a clear indication of the downfall of the Congress in the state. Borobabu was addressing a press conference at his residence at Khurai Ahongei today.

He welcomed Erabot’s decision and said ultimately, the BJP will definitely overthrow the Congress. However, to join the BJP, one has to fulfill certain criteria, he said, and asserted that the person should be sane and have no criminal records. He must also cut off all links with his earlier party, Borobabu observed. But it is not the time to criticize one another, it is the time to work unitedly to strengthen the BJP, he said.

At this moment, it would be better if everyone refrains from making any personal opinion regarding party tickets for the upcoming Assembly election, he said, and added that the party will decide on the right candidate who would be best for the party.

He continued conflicts among aspirants during distribution of party ticket happen everywhere. He added the central leaders are deliberating on the party’s chief ministerial candidate and will announce a name when the right time comes. He said the BJP national president Amit Shah is arriving in the state on September 14 to attend a convention.

BJP welcomes Erabot into party fold

Imphal Free Press

Former speaker and BJP core committee member Borobabu conspicuously absent during reception

IMPHAL | September 12

A five-time minister in the state cabinet and a six-time MLA from Wangkhei Assembly constituency Yumkham Erabot officially joined the BJP today, after tendering his resignation from both the Congress party and the MLA seat of the constituency. The BJP organised a grand reception for the veteran politician and long time MLA at its office.

Erabot, who was known more for his opposition to the Congress state leadership than support for the party during Assembly sessions in the last many years, tendered his resignation from the primary membership of Congress to the party president and as MLA of Wangkhei A/C before the speaker through the Secretary of Manipur Legislative Assembly this morning. However, it is learnt that the speaker has kept on hold Eroabot’s resignation from the MLA seat.

While the welcome team of the BJP led by president K Bhabananda included the likes of State Election Management Committee BJP Manipur chairman and former president of the party Th Chaoba, Thangmeiband MLA and legislative wing leader Kh Joykishan, Thongju MLA and BJP general secretary (Administration) Th Bishwajit, another party leader Haobam Borobabu was conspicuously absent.

Borobabu, a former speaker of the state Assembly, and a former legislator of the party from Wangkhei A/C, was not part of the team that welcomed Erabot into the party. Speaking at the sideline of the reception ceremony, Erabot said he decided to leave the Congress considering the long suffering of the people of Wangkhei A/C for the last 15 years.

He said he took his decision based on recommendations from his supporters and public. The decision was taken during meetings held on September 9 and 10, he said. He said due to the prolonged negligence of the people by the Congress government for the past many years, he decided to tender resignation from both the primary membership of the Congress and the Manipur Legislative Assembly.

He said he decided to join the BJP under the leadership of K Bhabananda listening to demands from his workers

Erabot who hails from Khurai Ahongei in Wangkhei Assembly constituency was elected as Member of Legislative Assembly in 1980, 1984, 1995, 2002, 2007 and 2012. He had served as cabinet minister for five terms, including as minister of state in-charge of FCS and Local Self Government from 1980 to 1981, as cabinet minister in-charge of FCS from 1981 to 1983, minister in charge of PHE Manipur from 1995 to 1997, minister in-charge of Education, Social Welfare, Art and Culture from 1997 to 1998 and minister in charge of Co-operation and Commerce and Industry from 2007 to 2009.

Erabot accompanied by his workers and supporters entered the BJP office around 11 am after tendering his resignation from both the INC and as MLA of Wangkhei. During the grand reception, Bhabananda officially approved Yumkham Erabot as an active member of the BJP.

Addressing the gathering, the BJP state president said a leader of the stature of Erabot leaving the Congress indicates that the party has no room for people with integrity. He demanded what development has the Congress brought during last 15 years of its rule. Instead of taking up any developmental scheme for the people, the present government is more interested in opening engineering cells and seeking contract works, he alleged.

There is nothing to prove the existence of a government in the state under the present Congress government, he said, demanding how the public could continue to keep such a government. People should provide answers to the questions in the upcoming 11th Manipur Legislative Assembly election.

Chaoba said Erabot’s bold move to leave the ruling party and join the opposition BJP to fight against corruption will be etched forever in the history of the state’s politics. He said the Congres will vanish soon from the state.

Chaoba further elaborated that the Congress leaders are involved in corruption, drug smuggling. The main reason for all the ills in the state is Okram Ibobi Singh, he attacked the CM and said now his relatives and family are involved in drug smuggling. For the last 15 years, the government has neglected Erabot and his constituency, he added. BJP believed that true and prominent leader will soon come out from congress party very soon, he observed.

Joykisan said Erabot joined the party because he is happy with the ideology of the BJP. We will work together to fight corruption, he said adding that though Erabot was in the ruling bench during the Assembly session, he always acted more like from the Opposition benches.

Will Lotus Bloom in Manipur?

Northeast Today / NET Bureau, Levion Jimmy

After the massive victory of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in Assam Assembly election bringing a bitter end to the 15 years rule of Congress government led by Tarun Gogoi, all eyes are on Manipur for the fact that it still remains one of the last surviving strongholds of the Congress.

The Congress government of Manipur under the leadership of Chief Minister Okram Ibobi Singh, will be completing its 15 years in 2017 having survived onslaughts from various quarters including the Modi wave that swept across the country and also the internal conflict within the party.

The fall of Congress in Assam, that remained undisputed for three consecutive terms, has changed the perception of the entire political scenario in the region marred by ton of questions. The one prominent and obvious question of all is – Will the lotus bloom in Manipur?

The answer to the question has become a great interest of the entire nation yet challenging one even for the political think tank to answer at this point of time. Can the BJP’s mantra work in Manipur like it did in Assam to overthrow the ‘indomitable’ Okram Ibobi’s regime? Will the victory in Assam help bring any change in Manipur? These are questions constantly ringing in the minds of the people and politicians alike.

Nevertheless, the count-down to the ‘clash of the titans’ has begun with the general election of the state just months away, likely to be held before March 2017. Both the parties has rolled up its sleeves and preparing for the bout of the century in the election history of Manipur.

Is the BJP a formidable opponent to bring down another giant down? After the exit of Th Chaoba, former Union Minister, as the president of BJP Manipur Pradesh, Ksh Bhabananda, a new face to the political arena of the state took charge as the president of the ambitious party, determine to bring down a giant (Congress) in its own stronghold.

Although the change in leadership raised eyebrows amongst a handful of senior party members no objection was openly raised to the decision entirely made by central leadership. While the question of contested leadership lingers, distribution of party tickets became another issue since the resurgence of the party with the party rose into power in the Centre.

Against the backdrop, the Modi wave that turned the tide across the country was reduced to just a mere hype unable to deliver any significant impact to Manipur political scenario in favour of the party (BJP). Voters in Manipur are known to judge or select their candidate by the personality not by the party he affiliates to, said Arun Irengbam, senior journalist of Manipur, when asked why the Modi wave failed to take a flight in Manipur.

The joining of two sitting MLA, former member of the All India Trinamool Congress (AITC) to BJP and their effortless win in the bye-election as BJP candidates is the clear manifestation of the trend of voting in Manipur and to corroborate the theory of Irengbam. Based on the same idea, rumours are circulating that the BJP is crafting a blue print that could change the whole dimension of the political scenario Manipur once and for all, detrimental to Congress, in the forthcoming 2017 general election in Manipur.

Th Chaoba, now the convenor of election committee BJP Manipur Pradesh, had also publicly announced that some of the senior members of the Congress were allegedly knocking at the door of the BJP. His announcement came in the wake of the reports of revolt by dissident congress MLAs against Ibobi for not initiating a mid-term reshuffle as promised.

The recent open criticism by congress spokesperson, Lamlai MLA N Biren, against Ibobi leadership, is also making rooms for more theory to conceive whether the dissident groups are conspiring with the BJP. The BJP president since the announcement of the Assam poll is reportedly camping in Delhi amidst the flying rumours till the time of filing the report.

However, Lamlai MLA, N Biren, in an exclusive interview to Northeast Today, clarified that there was no leadership crisis within the Congress party but an internal conflict within the congress family. He claimed that the Congress party is very much stable.

“It is the responsibility of the Congress party to inform the public what the government is doing and what the government ought to do when the public interest is in conflict while discharging its service,” the MLA explained referring to his open criticism against Ibobi. He said that ‘we’ are not satisfied with the re-shuffle and decentralisation of power.

The Congress spokesperson, further clarified that he has no knowledge about the so called ‘conspiracy’ between the BJP and dissident congress MLAs. It is worth noting that Manipur never had a record of an absolute majority ruling over the state until the 2007 election where the Congress led by Chief Minister Okram Ibobi Singh had scripted a history, close to absolute but that changed everything.

Since then the Ibobi led party apparently has complete control over the state with the periodical internal rift as the only gravest threat. Despite the fact, Ibobi regime grew in numbers and the number today has reached 47 MLAs of the total 60 seats. Is the conspiracy enough for BJP?

If ‘conspiracy theory’ circulating is true, Congress will suffer a heavy loss it had never imagined could conceive in the near very future. But can it deliver what it (BJP) wants, to overthrow the 15 years old Congress rule in Manipur.

Sources said that there are close to 20 MLAs in the list of dissident. On the other hand, Ibobi have the upper hand with over 27 MLAs close to half of the majority (60 seats). Will the ‘power hungry’ dissidents whose demand has been ministerial berth in Ibobi regime and ready to divide its own regime for power, would risk to stage a walk from the circle of power, is another area remains to be seen.

Given the facts and circumstances, nothing can be predicted at the present juncture but by August last week or September a significant development is anticipated. Till then, we will have to wait and watch.

Ditching Cong, embracing BJP: No party hopping

The Sangai Express Editorial, September 13 2016 

In deciding to leave the Congress and join the BJP, Y Erabot, the political strong man from Wangkhei Assembly Constituency has rung out a very important message. The Congress should take note of this. It is not only about an individual leaving the party, but is a reflection of where the BJP stands and this certainly cannot be comfortable for the Congress. A situation unthinkable prior to 2014, but after the BJP routed the Congress in the Lok Sabha polls more than two years back, it has been going from strength to strength and this is also being felt in the political firmament of the State.

From no MLA in the 2012 Assembly election, the BJP today has two MLAs who stormed the by election at Thangmeiband AC and Thongju AC. Not without reason that many interpreted the results of the by elections in the two Assembly Constituencies as something more than the loss of the Congress candidates but also the loss of the Chief Minister and Deputy Chief Minister. Just recall how the two leaders of the Congress Government went all the way while campaigning for the Congress candidates in the two ACs. Now comes the decision of Y Erabot to shift allegiance to the BJP and things certainly cannot be comfortable for the Congress.

That nothing was right between Erabot and Chief Minister O Ibobi is known to everyone and surely the man from Wangkhei Assembly Constituency will be remembered as the man who personally led hundreds of goods laden trucks to Imphal from the Imphal-Jiribam highway without additional security escort during the marathonesque highway blockade imposed by the All Naga Students’ Association, Manipur sometime in 2010. Back then Erabot was the hero, the man of the hour while the Chief Minister was seen as someone who failed to extend the needed co-operation. It is this image which will stand by him, an image which says that Erabot is a man of action ready to do away with all the niceties of protocol.

Early days yet but interestingly in ditching the Congress and joining the BJP, not many people see this as party hopping for political advantage but more as an act of revolt against the leaders of the Congress party. This again will see him in good stead and this is something which is important given that Assembly election is scheduled for the early part of 2017.

State Congress’ woes

The Imphal Free Press editorial, 14 Sep

Elections to the Manipur State Legislative Assembly are barely five month away and as expected, there are already rumblings in the ruling Congress party with a senior party leader Yumkham Erabot, MLA, Wangkhei Assembly Constituency, deserting to join the BJP – the Congress’s arch rival and one which is predicted to give the ruling party a run for its money at the 2017 hustling. The blow could not have been not hurtful for the Congress despite denials. Even if one MLA departing is unlikely to put the well ensconced Congress in any existential crisis immediately, the propaganda advantage the BJP gained is already evident. Moreover, the wound inflicted amongst the morale of the Congress party workers cannot by any circumstance be dismissed as trivial. It may be recalled Erabot at one time was projected as a potential replacement for chief minister Okram Ibobi and indeed his bitter rivalry with the latter is well known. In the last Assembly election, it is everybody’s knowledge that Ibobi had set up a proxy candidate to defeat Erabot, and again when this did not succeed in eliminating Erabot, the latter became the first to be shown the door from the Ibobi cabinet. Considering the nature of the friction between the two leaders, there was little likelihood of Erabot ever gaining a prominent leadership position in the Congress as long as Ibobi remained at the helm. Erabot’s change of heart therefore could as much have been an act of desperation.

That Erabot may not have it easy in the BJP because the BJP has a very prominent leader in his constituency in former speaker of the Assembly, Haobam Borobabu, is another story. But to return to the Congress, it is anybody’s guess the party’s woes are far from over with Erabot’s extreme and dramatic rebellion. In fact, Erabot’s departure may be an indicator of the pattern of dissidence within the party’s top rung leadership in the run up to the election. That is to say, the possible ruptures in the Congress is likely to begin at the top and not from the mid or bottom rung leadership. It may sound incredulous, but going by the culture of power sharing in the Congress government under Ibobi, it is likely the top rung, beginning from Ibobi’s cabinet colleagues, are the ones most insecure at this moment. Presuming all of the current Congress MLAs return their seats in the next elections, and presuming there are no further defections, the question is, who amongst them would be part of the new cabinet. Of course, the presumption also is, Ibobi would again be the leader of the new Congress Legislature Party. In the three terms that Ibobi has been the chief minister, except for very senior leaders who pose no threat to him, he has never retained any of the younger ministers in his cabinet. In a way he is compelled not to. Other MLAs waiting in the queue also obviously want their places in the sun and would rebel should he stray from this norm.

The rumour mills corroborate this picture. Part of these stories probably is motivated, with BJP spin doctors waging a psychological war to corner the Congress in the hope of causing panic in their ranks. Nonetheless, as they say there cannot be smoke where there is absolutely no fire. If these grapevines are to be taken seriously, many in the current Ibobi cabinet are the ones secretly sending over olive branches to the BJP, probing possibilities of better prospects in the party’s election wagon. This also implies the Congress’ second and third rung leaders are the ones with hopes for a cabinet berth should Ibobi head a Congress government again in the next term, therefore they are the ones least likely to leave the party for the BJP camp. Needless to say, it is a very fine balance Ibobi has to keep as he launches the election campaign for the new Assembly. He cannot afford to kill all hopes for his senior colleagues, just as he had done in the case of Erabot, but should he give the impression his current team will remain his team in the next term too, his trouble will begin from lower down the ladder. As long as the Congress in the state had no real challenger to the corridors of power, he could dictate his terms as a monarch would, but this cannot be said to be the reality anymore. With the BJP having come to power at the Centre, the equation has altered radically and the state BJP, though they never had any worthwhile base in the state, is now roaring like lion, and if Ibobi is not careful, the party may also quit as well develop the bite of a lion capable of mauling and decimating his party.

BJP’s tirade will have no takers: Mirabai

The Sangai Express

Imphal, September 13 2016: BJP’s unrestrained propaganda and verbal assault against the Congress while conveniently overlooking all the development works undertaken by the Government during the past 15 years will have very few takers, asserted Social Welfare Minister AK Mirabai.

She was speaking at the inaugural function of a community hall at Ghari Awang Leikai within Patsoi AC today. It is said that the community hall was constructed with the MLA Local Area Development of 2016-17. Speaking at the gathering, Mirabai that the Congress Government has been undertaking different development works although the pace slowed down a bit due to financial constraints in the last couple of years.

Unleashing all kinds of malicious propaganda while turning a blind eye to all the development works taken up by the Government would prove to be unpalatable to the public, Mirabai said. She pointed out that it was during the Congress Government that Manipur Technical University and Manipur University for Culture were set up.

She went on to declare that she would resign from being an MLA if any one can provide evidence about misuse or swindling of PDS rice allocated for NFSA beneficiaries of Patsoi AC. So far 11 community halls have been constructed, all major roads of Patsoi AC have been repaired and many schools have been upgraded. She then sought people’s continuous support so that she could complete incomplete projects and take up new ones during the next term.

Wangkhei Block Cong members set to join BJP

The Sangai Express

Imphal, September 13 2016: After Wangkhei AC MLA Yumkham Erabot left Congress party and joined BJP, Congress members of the Assembly segment have decided to quit Wangkhei Block Congress Committee.

Speaking to media persons at the residence of Erabot, Wangkhei Block Congress Committee vice-president Th Ibopishak said that members of the block have submitted resignation letters to the Manipur Pradesh Congress Committee (MPCC) to join Wangkhei BJP Mandal. MLA Joykishan who was also present at the press meet announced that the BJP Manipur Pradesh president has approved Erabot’s membership in BJP.

Claiming that Congress party has been completely uprooted from Wangkhei AC, the MLA said that if any one is still supporting Congress party in Wangkhei AC, it amounts to supporting drug smuggling. Erabot’s landmark step indicated his determination to save youngsters from the jaws of drug smugglers. Kingpins of all the drug cartels operating in Manipur are all relatives of top Government officials and leaders of the Congress party, alleged the MLA. This implied that the incumbent Government supports drug smugglers.

If the State should be spared from the menace of drugs, everybody should stop supporting Congress party, Joykishan asserted.

Political awareness programme

The Sangai Express

Senapati, September 13 2016: BJP Saitu Mandal organised a one-day political awareness programme at Ichum Keirap on September 11 where retired IRS and intending BJP candidate Tongmang Haokip attended as the guest of honour. Speaking at the occasion Tongmang Haokip said the need of the hour for the tribal is a leader who has an in-depth knowledge of MLR &LR Acts, protection of tribal land and heritage in the light of the controversial ILPS Bills.

“Tribal MLAs whom we had supported in the past, never looked back at us in times of suffering, death, etc,” Haokip said while adding that the tribal sitting MLAs, by constituting the Hill Areas Committee have literally sold out the interest and security of the tribal in exchange for their selfish ends.

Announcing that he will contest the up-coming Assembly Elections 2017, Haokip said the BJP and Prime Minister Narendra Modi stands for development and upliftment of the poor tribal which are manifested in the nomination of Mary Kom as Rajya Sabha Member and the Act East Policy.

Amit Shah mission skirts minefield
Scating attacks on Ibobi and Co, promise to protect boundary

Imphal Free Press

IMPHAL | September 14

BJP national president Amit Shah promised a performing government in Manipur, but sidestepped a possible minefield by choosing not to mention contentious issues of Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act and Inner Line Permit (ILP) system during his speech here today. Shah, who arrived here on a two day visit to also flex the party’s muscle and kick-start BJP campaign for the upcoming State Assembly election, addressed a mammoth rally of BJP booth level workers at Hapta Kangjeibung here.

Perhaps today’s is the largest ever BJP rally in Manipur. An estimated 50,000 workers from 2749 polling booths spread across the State gathered at the rally. Many BJP workers had to return from the gate as Hapta Kangjeibung was jam-packed to capacity. After capturing power in neighbouring Assam, BJP is eyeing to overthrow nearly 15 year long rule of Congress under the leadership of Okram Ibobi Singh. Today’s rally sought to send out a loud and clear message that BJP is fully prepared to take on the Congress. Shah promised to safeguard Manipur’s boundary, create jobs for youths and complete four-lane Imphal to Singapore highway via Thailand by 2019. The boundary dispute between Manipur-Myanmar is a very emotive issue for the people of Manipur. Similarly the ILP and armed forces act are other two important issues of the state. The BJP is not expected to take a clear stand on the two issues and therefore BJP supremo apparently skipped these issues not to kick up a row within the party.

Amit was liberal in making blistering attacks on Ibobi Singh government, accusing it of pocketing welfare funds, selling rice meant for the poor, failing to implement Centre’s projects etc. “The NDA government gifted Manipur National Sports University. But Ibobi Singh government fails to implement it. Had there been the sports university India could have won more Olympic medals,” Amit said.

Listing development programmes taken up by the Narendra Modi government the BJP leader said the Centre sanctioned more than Rs. 150 crore for railway line in the state, established an oil depot and revived DoNER ministry. “There was a time when NE people used to go to Delhi for NEC projects. But now NEC officials start visiting every state in the region under directives from the Prime Minister,” he said.

Reminding that the previous NDA government sanctioned Rs. 5000 crore for Manipur the leader charged that the money went down to pockets of the Congress ministers and MLAs. He also cited Loktak lake cleaning project “scam” and police constable recruitment row as misdeeds of the present government.

Drawing a parallel between a defunct transformer and Ibobi Singh government Amit urged the people without mentioning the name of BJP to replace the “useless transformer” with a new one for all round development of Manipur. Union human resource minister Prakash Javadeker also addressed the rally. He said the gathering today is a massage to the Ibobi Singh to vacate the seat as he completed 15 years of “looting people’s properties” in state.

He also flayed Ibobi Singh government for keeping Ima market buildings in a precarious condition. Himant Biswa Sarma Finance and Education Minister of Assam alleged that number of unemployed youths rises and level of corruption increases in Manipur under Ibobi Singh government. The BJP leaders declared BJP will come to power in Manipur Meghalaya and Mizoram. “Narendra Modi and Amit Shah will root out corruption in NE. Manipur will change for the better,” Himant said.

A Sarda, national vive-president Mahila Morcha, Sh Shantikumar, M Bhorot, H Borbabu former State presidents, MLAs Kh Joykisan and Bishwajit, Th Chaoba, convener State Election Management Committee, K Bhabananda State president also addressed the rally.

Gaikhangam: BJP stockpiling weeds

Imphal Free Press

IMPHAL | September 14

Instead of stockpiling fertile seeds, the BJP seems more interested in stocking weeds, deputy chief minister Gaikhangam said referring to new entrants into the BJP without naming the latest entrant Wangkhei MLA Yumkham Erabot.

He was speaking at a one-day conference on empowerment of Panchayati Raj Institute today at the Congress Bhawan organised by the Rajiv Gandhi Panchayati Raj Sangathan, Manipur Pradesh Congress Committee. Drawing parallel between weeds and political immigrants joining the BJP, he said BJP needs to implement a “political ILP” for entry into the party.

Without making any reference of the Wangkhei MLA who recently left his party and joined the BJP, Gaikhangam retorted the recent joining from Congress to BJP will be the last and none other will follow suit. Further attacking the BJP, the state deputy CM said the people should be aware of not repeating the “June 18” uprising by promoting the BJP. The people should remember that it was the BJP whose actions flared up the uprising leading to 18 lives lost and even the burning down of the state Assembly building, he added.

 The state is yet to fully recover from the wounds of June 18, he reminded. In a veiled attack on the visit of the BJP national president, he said people should be wary of the BJP leader’s visit and learn from the past of not making the same mistake of supporting the BJP. Coming to the topic of the day’s conference, Gaikhangam said Panchayati Raj in an important aspect of governance for the nation can only grow if the villages and rural areas are developed. Mahatma Gandhi’s words “go to the villages” meant a lot in developing the country, he observed.

He continued it was the Congress led government in the centre that amended the Panchayati Raj Institute. Congress believes the public to be their support base, while the RSS is the support base of the BJP, he said adding the BJP has no belief in secularism and democracy. The state is facing a crucial political juncture at the moment and the public should be very sensible in choosing their leaders, he added.

BJP only thinks of replacing the Congress and they have no intention of bringing any development for the state. He continued the political party is like a temple and the party members should devote their live to their party. Gandhi Panchayati Raj Sangathan, AICC New Delhi chairperson Meenakshi Natarajan said there are 32 lakhs elected village representatives in the country of which 12 lakhs are women. With decentralisation of power to the village level, the nation has managed to grow rapidly, she added.

She said that these grass root level democratic political set ups are actively working towards that growth of the nation. The BJP doesn’t believe in decentralization and has cut down maximum funding to the grassroot level, she said. Manipur Pradesh congress committee vice president and chairman PDA T Mangibabu Singh was also present in the one day conference as functional president.

Manipur “major beneficiary” of DoNER fund

Imphal Free Press

IMPHAL | September 14

The Union Minister of State (Independent charge) for Development of North Eastern Region (DoNER) and MoS PMO, Jitendra Singh said an amount of over Rs 100 crore has been released by the DoNER ministry in the first five months of the current financial year for various development projects in Manipur, according to a PIB statement.

According to the statement, the MoS elaborated that an amount of Rs 28.47 crore was released for different projects under NLCPR (Non Lapsable Central Pool of Resources) and approximately Rs. 75 crore was released for the NEC (North Eastern Council) projects. This is in addition to the various other fundings and budget releases coming to the State from other Ministries in the Government of India, he added, it said.

It said presiding over a meeting of the Ministry of DoNER here today, Jitendra said that among the North-Eastern States, Manipur is the major beneficiary of liberal funding and assistance from various central ministries. In this context, he also referred to the Jiribam-Silchar rail link and the broad-gauge rail track project from Jiribam to Tupul, it said.

Similarly, Jitendra said that four-laning of the road from Imphal to Moreh and Senapati to Imphal have also been undertaken, it said. In the Power sector, he said, with the active support from the ministry of DoNER, the state government and other related agencies have succeeded in providing uninterrupted power supply in the capital city of Imphal, it said.

Elaborating on the other new innovative plans for various North Eastern states, Jitendra said, all the 103 district headquarters in the Northeast are planned to be connected to the nearest highway through a minimum two-lane road, it said. At the same time, four-laning of several of the roads is in progress at a fast track, he added, according to the statement.

 The MoS also said that considering the exclusive athletic talent among the youth of Northeast, a Sports University for Manipur has been announced by the centre, but because of certain issues related to land acquisition, the project has been delayed, it said. The DoNER Ministry is, however, actively pursuing it with the state government in Imphal, he said.

Speaker accepts resignations by 4 NPF MLAs, Erabot

Imphal Free Press

IMPHAL | September 15: The Speaker of the Manipur Legislative Assembly today accepted the resignations of five MLAs, including the four Naga Peoples Front (NPF) MLAs and declared the constituencies represented by them vacant. The Assembly secretary in-charge K Meghajit Singh also issued separate bulletins as well.

The five are NPF MLAs Dr V Alexander Pao elected from Karong constituency, ST Nunghlung Victor elected from Chandel, Samuel Risom elected from Ukhrul, Dikho elected from Mao Constituency and Yumkham Erabot Singh elected from Wangkhei.

According to an official order of the Speaker, Congress MLA Erabot elected from 15-Wangkhei constituency resigned from the membership of Manipur Legislative Assembly yesterday, and consequent upon his resignation the seat of Wangkhei A/C has remained vacant.

Similarly, the Speaker accepted the resignation of the four NPF MLAs.

The NPF members announced their resignations from the Assembly in September last year to protest against the Protection of Manipur People Bill 2015, the Manipur Land Revenue and Land Reforms (Seventh Amendment) Bill 2015, and the Manipur Shops and Establishments (Second Amendment) Bill 2015, which were passed by the State Assembly on August 31 last year.

Though the Assembly secretariat remained silent on their resignations the four MLAs had been abstaining from attending the House sessions since the August sitting. However IFP found out that the four NPF legislators were reportedly drawing their salaries and other entitlements till August this year.

The Assembly authorities had been receiving the authorisation letters of the NPF MLAs claiming their entitlements till now despite having tendered their resignations. The MLAs not only claimed their salary but other entitlements including salaries for their sub-ordinate staff. An MLA is entitled with at least five or six subordinate staff for his assistance like driver, computer staff etc. for which he gets additional payment. In addition to his/her over one lakh rupees salary as basic pay per month, an MLA enjoys other allowances.

State electors cross 18 lakhs mark

Imphal Free Press

IMPHAL| September 15: The State Election office will organise various forms of campaign across the state to rectify electoral rolls, Chief Electoral Officer Vivek Kumar Dewangan told media persons during a press conference at his Old Secretariat office.

Kumar said the total number of electors in the draft rolls is 18,07,843 out of which 8,87,963 are male and 9,19,880 are female electors. Vivek said the electoral population ratio is 54.70, while according to the 2011 census report the projected electoral population percentage is 64.11 percent.

According to the population census, the female ratio per 1000 male is 982, whereas the draft electoral roll has 1036 female per 1000 male, he said, adding that his office has generated a report on the population of female electors above the age of 30 years who are still staying with their parents.

Elaborating further, Vivek said booth level officers will visit door to door to verify whether married female electors are enrolled in the polling stations of both her parental residence and married residence.

All concerned individuals and family are invited to voluntarily provide details regarding shifting of residence or married electors who are enrolled more than once or dead electors whose names are yet to be deleted from the rolls, he said and added voluntary disclosures are also sought on errors in particulars of electors, contact details of electors and if there is still any eligible person who are yet to be enrolled in the electoral rolls.

Married electors who are enrolled in the electoral rolls of both polling stations of her parental and husband residences should come forward and rectify the error, he appealed. Citizens who are going to be over 18 years of age as on January 1, 2017 should also come forward to get enrolled in the electoral roll, he added. The general public and representatives of political parties may verify the draft electoral rolls at the office of the electoral roll officers (EROs)/ assistant electoral roll officers (AEROs) and at all the polling stations including rural and urban elected bodies from September 7 to 21, he said.

Vivek further informed that reading of relevant section of photo electoral rolls in gram sabha or local bodies and RWA meeting etc and verification of names will also be conducted by the concerned EROs on September 24 and October 2. Special campaigns with booth level agents of political parties for receiving claims and objectives will also be organised on September 25 and October 3, he added.

The claims filed by the general public during the prescribed period will be disposed of by the concerned EROs on or before November 18, 2016, he stated and added that the concerned EROs will finally published the Electoral Rolls containing the supplementary list of additions, deletions and correction on January 2, 2017.

Chapter 17

“None of the 48 Cong MLAs will leave party”

Imphal Free Press

IMPHAL | September 4

The propaganda of congress MLA to leave party is totally wrong as none of the congress MLA will leave the party, said Nambol MLA Nameirakpam Loken. Speaking at a reception function of about 219 households of Nambol Constiteuncy once hard workers of Th Chaoba who joined the Indian National Congress under N Loken held at Congress Block Congress Committee Office, he said that the propaganda of BJP is not correct.

He further observed that as the BJP is doubtful of its ticket aspirants winning elections they are hoping to rope in deserters from the Congress with the dream of forming the next government. So the people of Nambol Constituency shouldn’t believe in the falsehoods of BJP, he added.

Loken further said, in his political career such large-scale desertion from Th Chaoba has never occured. The people of Nambol constituency used to be sharply divided between him and Th Chaoba. The households who joined INC today were his hard workers since 1972. In the function NBCC President and other congress leaders of block were also present.

CPI will bring a formidable force to fight Congress and BJP: Dr M Nara

Imphal Free Press

IMPHAL | September 4

Communist Party of India (CPI) is planning to cobble together an alliance to effectively challenge both the Congress and the BJP in the coming Manipur assembly elections, according to State Secretary CPI Dr Moirangthem Nara. In an exclusive interaction with IFP, Dr Nara said that in the upcoming Manipur Legislative Assembly elections the left and secular democratic front will be able to usher in a dramatic change in state political scenario.

He said, we know present electoral politics is a complicated process. But the political strength of a party is not determined alone by the number of candidates the party sponsors. He further said, it is little early to comment on the shape of political representation in the coming elections. But, CPI has plans to form a left and democratic alliance taking Kerala as an example.

Nara said that Congress and BJP-NPF will try to float candidates in all the 60 seats both in the hills and the valley. But, the CPI led alliance would float candidates who are people oriented. The proposed Left and Secular Democratic Front will organise in a big political convention for which strategy has already chalked out by CPI, said M Nara.

He observed that both Congress and BJP seeks to gain from a chaotic situation in the state. Our politics is at the grassroots level and at all times we try to adopt a people friendly political culture. Dr M Nara expressed appreciation for the campaign initiated by senior citizens for a free and fair election.

CAG report unearths fund misuse in ITIs

Imphal Free Press

IMPHAL |  September 4

 Mismanagement and fund leakage have plagued the Industrial Training Institutes (ITIs) under the state Department of Labour and Employment, which are supposed to ensure steady flow of skilled workers in different industrial trades so as to help encourage self employment and reduce the unemployment burden on the state government.

Citing lack of systematic and professional approach in functioning of Industrial Training Institutes in the state, the Comptroller and Auditor General of India’s Report ending March 2015 pointed out lack of infrastructure like tools and equipment, buildings, classrooms and hostels, and basic amenities such as water supply and toilets in these academic institutions. Decreasing trend of enrolment, increasing drop-outs, non-affiliation of trades to National Council of Vocational Training (NCVT), and after all financial mismanagement have been reflected in the CAG Report.

A total receipt of Rs. 29.64 lakh during 2010-15 at the 11 ITIs were not recorded in departmental cash books, while a sum of Rs. 12.12 Lakh drawn from bank account of ITI Imphal west during April 2010-March 2015 was also not reflected in cash books and any vouchers or bills not available. The CAG Report hence indicted the department with charges of misappropriation of an amount of Rs. 41.76 lakhs during the period.

The Principal of ITI Takyelpat had incurred an expenditure of Rs. 23.82 lakhs in purchase of various items for upgradation of the institute under Vocational Training Institutional programme before obtaining administrative approval and expenditure sanction, charged the Audit Report. Sanctions for purchases amounting to Rs. 23.51 lakhs were also split up apparently to avoid approval by competent authority, and related purchase files, tender documents, supply orders and stock registers could not be produced during the auditing, said the CAG document.

An amount of Rs. 88.20 lakhs meant for salaries of principals of five ITI was spent wastefully, as the services of these principals were never available at the said institutes. They were appointed in 2003 on contract basis for the newly established ITI of Phaknung, Tamenglong, Kakching, Ningthoukhong and Komlathabi. As their services were never utilized, the charges have been held by instructors till date. Test Audit of CAG confirmed that they have been drawing salaries at the rate of Rs. 14,700 per month since 2003.

Constructions of classrooms and workshops in 3 institutes (Takyel, Kakching and Saikot), hostels in 5 institutes (Takyel, Komlathabi, Tamenglong, Phaknung, Ningthoukhong), compound walls in 7 institutes (Takyel, Komlathabi, Tamenglong, Phaknung, Senapati, Ningthoukhong and Ukhrul) with a total cost of 6.40 Crore have not been completed even after expiry of datelines for completion.

According to the Report, Jiribam and Tamenglong ITIs have no building of their own, while Kakching, Saikot, Jiribam and Tamenglong institutes have no compound wall.

Under the Craftsmen Training Scheme launched by Government of India in 1950, the Industrial Training Institutes (ITIs) were established in states and union territories for imparting training to less privileged, poor and downtrodden school leaving youths. The administration of ITIs was transferred to state governments in 1956.

Now, Manipur state has 11 institutes with an intake capacity of 1640 seats, however the enrolment rate in these institutes has drastically decreased from 1144 in 2010 to 964 in 2015. As against the plan for setting up of ITIs in Lilong and Sekmai during 11th Five year plan (2007-12), no such institute has been established in these locations.

Noticing appointment of only one regular principal of ITI, the Report said remaining 10 institutes have been manned by principals in-charge for the last one decade. Moreover, there are shortages of technical instructors, which hamper the production of quality trainees.

Budgetary allocation for ITIs in Manipur was 674.05 Lakhs, which could not be fully utilised during the year 2014-15. Rush of funds during the month of March against the financial norms have been detected by the CAG audit with the figure standing at 64.86 percent of annual budget for 2013-14 spent in the month of March 2014.

BJP ticket aspirants start poll campaign

Imphal Free Press

IMPHAL | September 4

Aspiring candidates of BJP in Naoriya Pakhanglapka, Lamlai and Langthabal assembly constituencies kicked off their election campaigns for the upcoming 11th Manipur Legislative Assembly polls today at their respective premises.

Election campaign of State BJP executive member, Dr Soraisem Manaoton who will be contesting in the ensuing 11th State Assembly Election from Naoriya Pakhanglakpa Assembly constituency started with a rally set out from Hiyangthang and passed through Langthabal Phura Makhong and Ningombam before ending at Mekola. 

Thousands of supporters took part in the rally which was jointly organized by Naoriya Pakhanglakpa Development Committee, Election Committee and Youths United Mutual Bond Initiative (YUMBI). Speaking to media persons on the sidelines of the rally, Manaoton said that his aim as a representative is to reform Naoriya Pakhanglakpa Assembly Constituency and work for the welfare of its denizens.

He alleged that sitting MLA RK Anand only focused on individual development programmes instead of giving emphasis on the welfare of the constituency. He contended that poor families of the constituency are deprived of old age pension scheme and other benefits due to the negligence of the MLA. People of the constituency are not satisfied with the work programmes taken up by him. The MLA never turned up whenever any complaint arises regarding development works, he said.

Many people have complained that Naoriya Pakhanglakpa has been reduced to a deplorable constituency when it comes to development works, Manaoton mentioned. He also said that the people have selected him as a representative to bring transparency in developmental works and uplift poor people of the constituency. Manaoton assured that he will bring all round development in Naoriya Pakhanglakpa A/C if becomes MLA.

Meanwhile, President of Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha (BJYM) Manipur Pradesh Pukhrambam Somojit has also begun his election campaign. He will be contesting in the election from Langthabal Assembly Constituency. In connection with the campaign, a rally was taken out in and around ward no1 of the constituency.

Curfew imposed within 1 km radius of Assembly
Govt plans to foil protest rallies of both BJP and JCILPS

Imphal Free Press

IMPHAL | September 4

The District Magistrate Imphal West district has imposed prohibition on the movement of any persons in all the areas located within a one kilometer radius around the Manipur Legislative Assembly Complex tomorrow until the Assembly session is over.

An order issued by the Magistrate said that the order has been imposed under sub section (2) of section 144, CrPC 1973 and that any residing in the one kilometer radius around the Manipur Legislative is prohibited to move around till 3pm tomorrow or until the session is over. After Assam, BJP sets eyes on

Manipur Amit Shah to meet State workers on Sept 15

The Sangai Express / Economic Times

Guwahati, September 06 2016: BJP president Amit Shah has started working on a detailed strategy for Manipur polls slated for early next year, where his party is confident of repeating its spectacular performance of Assam. Shah is set to interact with party workers on September 15, when he will sound his party's poll bugle.The party has appointed Union HRD minister Prakash Javadekar in charge of the Manipur polls.

BJP functionary Prahlad Singh Patel told ET, "Shah will interact with booth level workers on September 15 . "The party made inroads in the civic polls to Imphal Municipal Corporation, winning 10 out of 27 seats, with the ruling Congress winning 12.In 2011, BJP could win only 1 seat, when the Congress won 13" . BJP has set up strong organisational base in Manipur and a platform of non-Congress parties called the North East Democratic Alliance (Neda).

Key leaders are expected to campaign for BJP. Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal and Neda convenor Himanta Biswa Sarma are among the top campaigners expected to tour the State soon. BJP is enthused by the response it has received for the agitations."The turnout and participation of BJP workers proves that we are gaining ground and we will come to power in the State," a party insider said.
At present, BJP has two MLAs in the 60-member Assembly.

BJP VP Hemanta slams govt over jumbo size appointments in Manipur Assembly

Imphal Times

Thoubal, September 01 2016: Alleging that the congress government has wasted a huge money from the state exchequer through unnecessary appointments in Manipur Legislative assembly secretariat, BJP Manipur Pradesh Vice President, Ex Minister Moirangthem Hemanta said that more than 500 employees have been appointed unnecessarily in the 60 member Manipur Legislative assembly secretariat while the counterpart Maghalaya and Tripura Legislative assemblies having only 300 and 250 staffs respectively.

"Even the 289 member Maharastra Legislative assembly have only 750 staffs while 294 member Andra Pradesh Assembly functioning with only 294 staffs. Now the government has issued notifications for recruitments for many departments to gain their political mileage on the ven of election", charged the BJP leader. Ex Minister Moirangthem Hemanta also lambasted the chief minister Ibobi led government for holding the monsoon session of Manipur Legislative Assembly for only two days.

Several malpractices, corruption, discrepancies in job recruitment have been witnessed during the 14 years old congress regime in Manipur. Now congress is afraid if the opposition BJP would expose their misdeeds. Hence the assembly session was concluded within two days, said Ex Minister Moirangthem Hemanta during a day long BJP political conference at Phundrei Thoubal district.

Hemanta further said that holding of assembly session for only two days is not practiced in any state of the country except Manipur. The congress government supported by 47 MLAs in 60 members Manipur Legislative assembly is cowardly enough even to face the two opposition BJP MLAs, he added.

Hiyanglam BJP Mandal resolves to support either M Dhanbir or L Ashokumar

Imphal Free Press

IMPHAL, September 6: The BJP Hiyanglam Mandal has vowed to support either M Dhanabir or L Ashokumar, who had earlier contested in the assembly elections on BJP ticket, during the upcoming Manipur Legislative Assembly Election.

This was decided during the one-day political conference of BJP Hiyanglam Mandal held today at the residence of L Ashokumar at Langmeidong Maning Leikai. The political conference was attended by over 500 supporters of BJP. Dhanabir was a candidate in the last by-election to the Hiyanglam assembly seat, while Ashokumar contested in the general election in 2012.

The meeting also discussed the matter related to grievances including the financial problem facing the people of the constituency. The BJP leaders highlighted that the congress party particularly in Hiyanglam Constituency misused the public funds and misled the people.

The meeting resolved to bring out a BJP representative from Hiyanglam Constituency for the new Manipur government. And the BJP workers decided to sponsor one of the candidates between Maibam Dhanabir and L Ashokumar for the upcoming general election.

The people of Hiyanglam have also endorsed support to the BJP candidate who gets party ticket in the election for a new Hiyanglam.

Public feast turns into free for all fight among political supporters

The Imphal Free Press

THOUBAL | September 7: With elections approaching fast, cases of altercations and fights among supporters of different political parties and intending candidates have increased.

In what could be reported as election related violence, a clash broke out between supporters of Wangkhem MLA K Meghachandra who is also the parliamentary secretary of IPR and intending candidate of the Assembly constituency Y Nabachandra in Thoubal Haokha today.

According to information culled from the incident site, a public feast was arranged at the residence of Tensubam Mohon at Thoubal Haokha Maning Leikai which was attended by supporters of Meghachandra. It is learnt that around noon, some supporters of Nabachandra arrived and alleged that the feast was organized by supporters of Meghachandra with the design to create division among the locals.

Asserting that simply campaigning for election is fine, but boozing is not allowed, they interrupted the feast which resulted in a free for all fight. However, timely arrival of a police team managed to contain the fight, according to locals. Later, at around 4pm, MLA Meghachandra attended a public meeting at Thoubal Haokha heibi Makhong Lampak. The meeting, however, ended as another commotion occurred between supporters of Nabachandra and the MLA.

A team of Thoubal police commandos arrived and bring the situation under. Meanwhile, it is also learnt that locals of Phoudel stoned MLA Meghachandra’s residence around 2pm against the erection of HT Line passing through Phoudel Village.

BJP, Cong and NPF in the hill dists Where is the MPP ?

The Sangai Express editorial
Sep 08, 2016

Assembly election is still some time away but the BJP has already set the ball rolling. Not letting any single opportunity to land a blow or two on the State Government go by and ironic it is but it is the Congress Government itself which offered the perfect opportunity in deciding to scrap the DPC held in 2013 to recruit police Constables. What happened after the Government announced that the said DPC has been scrapped and a fresh DPC would be held, is there for all to see. The BJP may be seen to have sided with the 10,000 odd candidates who appeared for the 2013 DPC but in reality it was delivering a powerful political statement which has all the potential to impact on the upcoming polls. The Congress obviously has no one to blame but its own ineptness and maybe being in power for the third consecutive term has dulled its political astuteness. Obviously the BJP is on a high at the moment and it is to seize this opportunity that BJP National president Amit Shah has set a date with Manipur on September 15 when he is scheduled to meet party workers here. This is certain to give a boost to the BJP while it will hurt the interest of the Congress. While it would be foolhardy to read the election tea leaves at the moment, one thing that can be said with a degree of certainty is the point that the Congress will not do as well as in the 2012 Assembly election.

The fight will primarily be between the Congress and the BJP here, but there will be some other significant players at the hustings. In the Naga dominated hill districts of the State, the Naga People’s Front will have a big say and given that it is part of the BJP led NDA Government at the Centre, it may just about strike some sort of an understanding with the BJP here too. This is despite the earlier assertion of Himanta Biswa Sarma that the BJP will have no truck with other political parties at the hustings. So BJP, Congress and the NPF in the hills, especially in the Naga dominated districts and it is these political parties which will draw the attention of the people. Two National parties and one regional political party with its headquarters at Kohima, and the natural question that may be asked, is what has happened to the Manipur People’s Party ? The decline of the MPP has been gradual and from a party which once was the biggest challenge to the Congress, today, the MPP is nowhere there in sight, failing to send even one single MLA in the last Assembly election. Nothing to suggest that it will improve in the next Assembly election and today it has come to be identified as solely the party which has its head office behind the historic Mapal Kangjeibung.

Sign of cracks in ruling Congress
Yumkham Irabot set to leave party to join BJP

Imphal Free Press

IMPHAL | September 9

In what could prove a fissure in the Okram Ibobi Singh led Congress government’s armour ahead of next year’s state Assembly election, veteran politician MLA Yumkham Irabot is likely to leave the party soon, if insider sources are to be believed. Although not confirmed from the MLA himself, sources revealed that owing to strong pressure from his workers and supporters, the MLA has decided to listen to them and leave the party.

The sources said Irabot’s workers and supporters from Wangkhei Assembly constituency have been demanding the MLA to resign from the Congress and join another party. They had even fixed September 10 as deadline for the MLA to announce his decision, with the warning that they will ditch him and join another party if he is unable to meet their demand by the deadline, the sources said.

A huge crowd of supporters had gathered at the MLA’s residence since early this morning discussing the present political situation and waiting for their leader’s reply to their demand. The supporters met the MLA today and the MLA assured to listen to their appeal, informed the sources. It is learnt that supporters have been urging their MLA to resign from the Congress party since the chief minister Okram Ibobi Singh did not treat him as the representative of the constituency.

The supporters contended that for the past many years, Irabot has not been treated like an MLA of the ruling party by the government, informed the source. Meanwhile, getting information of the development, a team of media persons rushed to the MLA’s Khurai residence in the evening but the team could not meet the MLA as he was reportedly indisposed. On enquiry, the workers neither denied nor confirmed the MLA’s decision to leave the Congress, but said they have adopted some resolutions to bring a new government in the state.