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.

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