Chapter 22

Sekmai BJP poster campaign

Imphal Free Press

IMPHAL | Oct 9

Sekmai BJP Mandal has kicked off its poster campaign in support of Ayangbam Oken aspirant candidate from 16-Sekmai constituency on. It was attended by huge number of youths from 38 polling stations.  The Sekmai BJP Mandal youths has formed “BJP campaign Youva Morcha 16-Sekmai AC in favour or Ayangbam Oken” to strengthen the booth level for the incoming general election.

In this regard, Ayangbam Oken Singh speaking to media person during the campaign said that the youths are on new movement to bring about a meaningful change in the constituency. He alleged that the present MLA has not brought any development in the constituency. He said went on to alleged that in a recent inaugural function of community hall at Pheiyeng the MLA promised to complete various Sekmai IVR roads within the month of December with blacktopping, adding it is an empty promise.

He said that Sekmai MLA have not raised any issue in most of the Assembly sessions held so far during the last five years. He further alleged the MLA of misusing funds meant for developmental work in the constituency. He urged the people of Sekmai constituency to vote wisely to bring about a positive change in the area.

“Cracks” within IMC Congress councillors

Imphal Free Press

IMPHAL | October 9

Cracks could soon develop within the Congress elected councillors of the Imphal Municipal Corporation. This could lead to a new political equation of sharing power in the Corporation. October 10 meeting of Congress councillors is important from this vantage. This was stated by L Bashanta Sharma, state BJP leader during a booth level committee meeting of three polling stations held at Keishamthong Imphal. He noted that based on the speculation on the likelihood of MLA L Ibomcha joining the Congress party, former minister Jayenta and his support group of Congress IMC councillors might pose a headache to the party.

He said that there are lots of differences among the Congress elect councillors; there is possibility of a leadership change in the functioning of the Corporation, adding that the BJP councillors are keeping a close watch on the situation. Speaking at the function, spokesperson of BJP RK Shivachandra, who is also an aspirant candidate of Keishamthong constituency alleged that the government has suddenly started inviting applications to fill up vacant post in various departments when the election is knocking at the door.

He said the Congress is taking advantage on government job recruitment with election in their mind. It is well known to the people that each post in the government department has a price tag, he added.

He went on to allege that the Congress party has been collecting money forcibly from the people at the time of job recruitment. The BJP government at the Center will approve the Bill on ILP or similar Act given that the Congress government is sincere in its approach regarding the issue, he added. He lamented it is unfortunate that there has been mushrooming of politicians who do not have a proper political foundation. Many ‘balcony politicians’ are running after party tickets with the growing popularity of Narendra Modi led government at the Center, he said.

Electoral roll revision launched in CcPur

Imphal Free Press


The re-launch programme of electoral roll revision campaign was held at the Deputy Commissioner (DC) Office Complex today. As part of the programme, DC Lunminthang Haokip handed out pamphlets and SVEEP campaign T-shirts and caps to the election idols and ambassador so that the same could be distributed during the campaigns on awareness of electoral enrollment and participation.

Today’s brief programme was attended by officer on special duty (OSD) for the coming election preparation Thienlaljoy and chairman of SVEEP Seiminlien Lengen who is also CEO of Autonomous District Council Churachandpur. Media persons from both print and electronic also attended as special guests as they are supposed to spread the message of the revision campaign.

The DC said, the district administration has been undertaking the campaign non-stop since the past month and been talking about the importance of Systematic Voters Education and Electoral Participation (SWEEP) asking all citizens to enroll for participation in the coming election.

He said “We have done three mega Gram Sabha campaigns, so far and Ccpur a/c is almost as good as completed. Now, once we conduct other programmes like the road shows and live telecast discussions we will concentrate on the other Assembly constituencies like Henglep and Tipaimukh, Thanlon, Singhat and Saikot which are some of the remotest, he said.

The DC also said the district administration is conducting different programmes like training the Block Level Officers (BLO) and other election officials who will be involved in the coming election saying that web casting will be facilitated in the coming election wherein cameras will be fitted at the polling stations so that the RO in the district HQ and CEO of the state can monitor the proceedings from the state capital. He however, admitted that there was limitation as in some A/C there may not be power or network but assured that there will be 100 percent web casting in Churachandpur A/C and 90 percent at Saikot A/C.

The web casting coverage may be limited in other A/Cs where connectivity will be a problem but CCTVs will be installed in most booths, he said. Talking to the DC, the IFP learnt that the main focus of their effort for maximum participation in the election was also about the effort to make the polling booths people with disability friendly and as such the directive is to have a ramp at polling booths. He also assured that all valid voters will not be deprived of their right to vote irrespective of the circumstances for which he said a mechanism was in place for the PWD to exercise their right to exercise their franchise.

Biren: Cong Bhavan gang terrorises
Even MLAs are not safe in the party, claims the former Cong VP

Imphal Free Press
By Shyam Waikhom

IMPHAL | October 10

Former minister Nongthombam Biren who recently deserted the Congress party has alleged that ‘Goondaraj’ is rampant in the party where even the MLAs feel insecure. He was speaking at a felicitation ceremony organised by Progressive People of Yaiskul at Yaiskul Sougaijam Leikai community hall here today under the theme ‘Change for Manipur’.

He said, he is not comfortable in a party where leaders collect signatures for disintegration of Manipur. Taking a jibe against the inept handling of the ILP issue by the Congress government, he said the party must come out with a concrete decision whether ILP or a similar Act will be implemented or not. “So many innocent people were injured in the movement demanding the Act”, he said.

He added that there has been sharp divide among the people of hill and the valley. He said, “It is unfortunate that the government has done nothing in this regard to bring harmony between the hill and plain. Nine bodies are still lying at Churachandpur waiting for a proper funeral”, he said.

He also pointed out that he had raised the issue of the situation in Churachandpur several times in the CLP meetings but he was side-lined. This kind of attitude of the Congress party led him resign from the MLA post as well, he said. He ridiculed the government saying that its administration does not cover Churachandpur district.

He said, “It may be recalled, the government conducted the last rites of Thangjam Manorama in 2004 forcibly, but they cannot do anything with the nine bodies in Churachandpur”. N Biren also blamed the government for remaining silent when film actor Momoko was allegedly molested by a cadre of NSCN-IM at Chandel district in full view of the public. “My mission from now onwards is for a proper policy programme in governance”, he added.

The former minister who has served under the Congress party also maintained that the device between the hill and the valley can be solved only when there is there is equal development in the state. “At the same time there should be political solution in regards to all kinds of peace talks with different UG groups the government is currently engaged with within a period of two-three years”, he said, adding that any kind of agreement or ‘framework’ should not affect the state boundary. 

Chief Minister intervene MU crisis
Academic Council hold another meeting; fails to take a decision

Imphal Times

Imphal, October 01 2016: Taking the prevailing issue at Manipur University in the aftermath of the Academic Council’s resolution of October 8 regarding reservation of seats in the Manipur University, Chief Minister Okram Ibobi had reportedly intervene the issue by directing the University authority to revoke the resolution adopted on the day.

A high level source said that the Chief Minister had taken the matter seriously as the tribal students’ body had threaten to called total shut down in Hill district if the resolution adopted on the day has not been revoke within four days starting yesterday. On the other hand the departure of Tribal students from Manipur University complex has make worried to the Chief Minister as it has the tendency to break down the prevailing law and order condition of the state.

District and Block level committee of MPCC supports ST demands for Meetei/ Meitei community

Imphal Times

Imphal, October 01 2016: District and Block level committee of the Manipur Pradesh District Committee has extended support to the demand for inclusion of Meitei/ Meetei to Schedule Tribe list under the constitution of India. The members of the MPCC committee also agreed to endorse the demand put up by the Coordinating Body on Scheduled Tribe Demand Committee (CBSTDC) Manipur to the Chief Minister and other leaders of the MPCC.

The decision to support the movement for inclusion of Meitei/Meetei to Scheduled Tribe list was taken during an interaction programme held today at Manipur Press Club. Almost all office bearers of the District and Blocked Level Committee of the MPCC from Valley districts attended the interaction programme. Convenor of the CBSTDC, M Churamani, while speaking to media persons said that the interaction programme from the grass root workers of the Congress party is being organized in consideration to the importance of the Congress party in pushing up the matters for saving the indigenous people as it is in power in the state government.

He expected hopes that the Congress leadership including the Chief Minister of Manipur will take the demand for ST status of Meitei/ Meetei community as genuine and serious as it is the only means to protect the people. Working president of STDC of Moirangthem Naodalen Khomba, member of consultative body of STDC RK Rajendra and Chairman of All Blocks Congress President forum Nandalal Angomcha graced the interaction programme as dignitaries.

NPF appreciates CM O Ibobi

Imphal Times

Imphal, October 01 2016: Naga People Front (NPF) Manipur State Unit has appreciated the decision taken by Chief Minister O Ibobi Singh as right decision by not introducing the Manipur Regulation of Non-Local People Act, 2016 thereby honoring the will of the people. Honreikhui Kashung said in a press statement that on August 23, 2016, the resigned MLAs of NPF had issued a statement against the introduction of the Regulation of Non-Local People Act, 2016 in the 16th Session of the 10th Manipur Legislative Assembly in September, 2016.In this regards, NPF state Chief Minister O Ibobi Singh had taken the right decision by not introducing the Act, he added.

Honreikhui Kashung also said that NPF is the most concern party for the common good and collective progress in the State which humbly express the view as expressed on August 23, 2016 be taken into consideration and that the Hill Institution, Hill Authority under Law and Custom, then rights and privilege as granted and enjoyed under the Law and the Constitution by the Hill People shall be fringed upon in enacting new laws. Honreikhui Kashung further said that the Registration Authority shall in no way downplay the Village Authority and Autonomous District Authority in the Hills.

‘Francis Ngajokpa to leave Congress party’
Supporters ask former minister to contest 2017 Assembly elections from another party

Imphal Free Press

IMPHAL | October 11

In what could be another blow to the ruling Congress a few months ahead of the 2017 state Assembly election, another big wig of the party is likely to fall to pressure from workers and resign from it soon. Workers of 49 (ST) Tadubi Assembly constituency MLA Francis Ngajokpa have demanded the MLA to leave the party ahead of the state Assembly election.

Workers of the MLA convened a meeting at the Maram Centre Ground today during which it was resolved that they will continue to support the MLA only if he resigns from the MPCC. The meeting resolved that under any circumstances the workers shall not vote for the Congress candidate in respect of 49 (ST) Tadubi A/C in the forthcoming State Assembly election and that the MLA Francis Ngajokpa must resign from the primary membership of the Congress party and as a member from the present sitting MLA in the larger interest of the constituency.

It was also resolved that the workers, in one voice and in one spirit, shall support any political party other than the Congress as rightly chosen by Francis Ngajokpa. Today’s meeting was attended by a little over 1000 workers who had also resolved not to meet MLA Francis Ngajokpa until he resigns from the post of MLA and from the Congress party as well.

Ngajokpa was on his way to attend the meeting when he had to take a u-turn from Sekmai and return to the state capital after getting information about his workers’ decision to not meet him until he resigns from the Congress. Speaking to media persons on the sidelines of the workers’ meeting, Naga Peoples’ Organisation secretary K Daniel Katomai said the workers are still with Ngajokpa but their only conditions is that he resign from Congress and join another party.

The workers, he said, will support Ngajokpa heart and soul in the 2017 election if he resigns and joins another party. Daniel said the Congress is anti-tribal and has always acted against the interest of the tribals. He said the workers will not support any candidate of the Congress in the upcoming election. Tadubi A/C is inhabited largely by eight different communities of the state with the Maram community being the majority.

Today’s meeting was attended by workers from different villages of the constituency including Maram chief K Namba, Willong Circle chairman K Luikang Rajamei, leader from Zeliangrong group Gogo Kenelu, IT Road Kuki area leader Angam Gelnel and other active political workers of the MLA.

Min Govindas to face brother in elections

Imphal Free Press

IMPHAL | October 11

Many youths of the state have taken refuge into drugs. Dejected youths who have been misled by the government in police constable recruitment 2013 could fall into the trap of addiction, with drugs sold by the children Congress leaders. This was stated by Th Chaoba, BJP leader, as chief guest at the one-day political conference cum protest rally against the Speaker for misusing constitutional power held at Ningthoukhong Bazar Community hall today.

He said that a new dawn will come soon in Bishnupur. Quoting the Ramayan epic, he said, “Like Bibhison defeated his brother Ravana, in the end truth will triumph in Bishnupur in the coming Assembly election”. He further said that BJP has full strength to confront each Congress MLAs and Ministers in different constituencies. “We have perfect knights with strength in Thoubal, Nungba, Mayang Imphal, Oinam, Thanga, Kumbi and other constituencies too”, he added.

Recalling Mahatma Gandhi’s advice after independence to the Congress party to dissolve it, Chaoba said, “Narendra Modi is doing what Gandhi had advised. He is dissolving the Congress. The Prime Minister is also following the ideology of Neta Irabot of empowering women by giving 33 percent reservation”. Konthoujam Krishnakumar, who is a BJP candidate of Ninghtoukhong constituency to the upcoming Assembly election, said the fight is between two different ideologies, not between siblings. “I have no personal grudge against the sitting MLA but I have come out against the discrepancy seen in the implementation of several Prime Minister Flagships programmes in the constituency”, he added. 

M Asnikumar, state BJP vice-president alleged that congress has trademarks of: commission, corruption and cruelty. “We have been demanding white paper regarding the usage of MLA local area development fund and also of projects taken up by the sitting MLA, Govindas. We found that the number of women of Bishnupur forming cluster for handloom and handicraft are actually greater than the real number women population in the district”, he alleged.

In the function, N Mangi, P Robart, P Sarat, K Robindro, O Romio, Anwar Hassan, Antas Khan, M Dhanabir, O Malesh, Asim Pamei and Bishnupur Mandal president RK Biola were also present.

NPF condemns MU decision

Imphal Free Press

IMPHAL | October 11

The Naga People’s Front (NPF) Manipur State Unit today expressing their concern over the prevailing situation in Manipur University drew the attention of the Chief Minister of Manipur to intervene before things get out of hand. Addressing media persons in a press meet held today Dewlahland office, NPF president Awangbou Newmai lamented on the silence of the Chief Minister and other state leaders over the reservation issue.

“The issue if not addressed in time could snowball into a major controversy detrimental to the tranquility of the state”, he said. It is unfortunate that the prevent crisis is hampering the careers of thousands of students.

BJP political awareness camp in Chingjaroi

Imphal Free Press

UKHRUL | October 11

With the aim to create more awareness to the people about the various initiatives being taken up by the NDA Government for the northeast states under Prime Minister Narendra Modi, a one-day political awareness camp cum consultation programme was held at Chingjaroi Khullen, located in the foothills of Chingjui peak, under Chingai Sub-Division.

Aspiring BJP candidate from Chingai assembly constituency, Sword Vashum (retd IAAS) accompanied by his workers, villagers, close aides, supporters and well-wishers attended the programme.

Around 100 people from Chingjaroi village including Francis AS, headman of Chingjaroi Khullen; Ngazek SK, headman of Chingjaroi Khunou, Thotmathing RK, youth president of Chingjaroi Khullen; Rachel T, shanaolong president of Chingjaroi Khullen; Ningchungla T, shanaolong president of Chingjaroi Khunou; Dovi R, youth president of Chingjaroi Khunou, Roviso Marzah PhD research scholar and village elders were also present at the occasion.

The battle line is drawn : BJP versus the Congress

The Sangai Express Editorial, 12 October 2016 

Interesting days ahead ; The battle line is drawn. BJP versus the Congress.  One which has been in power for the third consecutive term and the other trying to ride the Modi wave with Assam already opening the door and becoming the first North East State to have a BJP Government. Making things more interesting is the fact that two Congress MLAs have quit the party and all things more than indicate that the resignations have to do with the battle line drawn up between the Congress and BJP.

So far only Y Erabot has formally joined the BJP but it should be apparent that N Biren from Heingang Assembly Constituency must have his eyes set on the BJP.  On the other hand, supporters of Tadubi AC MLA Francis Ngajokpa have started piling the pressure on him to quit the Congress and join any other political party of his choice. The likelihood that the choice might be the BJP is high.

True four sitting MLAs of the Trinamool Congress recently joined the Congress and while this will surely strengthen the party, this can also mean giving the cold shoulder to the former Congress candidates who contested the Assembly polls unsuccessfully.

What if these former Congress candidates decide to contest the election , regardless of whether they are given the party’s ticket or not. Uncomfortable it will be for the party which has ruled the State for the last three terms.  Whatever it is, the people can surely expect to see interesting days ahead and already all have seen the witty exchange of words between Deputy Chief Minister Gaikhangam and O Joy of the BJP. More such verbal exchange can be expected in the days to come. This is what will make the next Assembly election all that more interesting.

The important question at this point is however the respective stand of the two political parties on some of the pressing issues besieging the State. The stand of the Congress seems clear on the demand to enact a Bill to check the inflow of non-local people into the State and while the BJP seems to back this stand, it remains to be seen how it will respond when a Bill is passed and referred to the Centre for its enactment.

How about the stand of the two political parties to the campaign that the Meiteis/Meeteis be included in the Scheduled Tribe list? So far no official word has come from these two political parties, but it will not be long when they have to take a stand and this is what will be interesting to watch. How about the Framework Agreement inked between the Centre and the NSCN (IM) last year? Maybe this is where the Congress will attempt to deliver blows on the BJP, reminding the people that the words ‘ceasefire without territorial limits’ were inserted when the BJP was in power at Delhi while the BJP may hit back with the assertion that there are some Congress leaders who had backed the demand for Naga integration some time back. Many issues and surely the people can expect to see some interesting debates in the days ahead.

Congress is the enemy of Manipur and an evil force - BJP

Imphal Times

Imphal, October 12 2016: Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Manipur Pradesh has alleged the Indian National Congress as an evil force. Speaking during during a mass protest rally cum political Conference at Ningthoukhong Keithel, Vice- President of State BJP Moirangthem Asnikumar said that less than 15 years of congress regime in Manipur, people of this land is reeling and feel insecure.

The hope and aspiration of people is lost;people are surviving on the mercy of God.The three hidden agenda of congress rule in Manipur is CCC -Corruption, Commission, Cruelty out of these they tried to earn as much possible for their personal well and assets, thereby all congress MLAs are becoming overnight crorepatis. The number of unemployment youths is increasing, poverty is increasing.

Every government job has a prize tag, highest bidder got the job, while qualified youths are not getting job. The meeting was attended by BJP State leaders like Th Chaoba Singh, Convenor of BJP’s State Election Management Committee; Adim Pamei, State VP;N Mangi Singh, Spokesman; Konthoujam Krishnakumar, State Executive member.

Asnikumar Singh further said that all the roads are pathetic in the state, no proper drinking water,no proper Health care,all government educational institutions are defunct,no proper irrigation facilities under 15 years of Congress regime. In the name of counter insurgency, around 1272 innocent citizens of state were killed during 2002 to 2012 while Chief Minister Ibobi was in-charge of Home Minister of the state. At the rate of 111 fake encounter took place per years during the period.

It is as per record in the Supreme Court of India which justice is waited. “This present congress government in Manipur is evil force of Manipur. So people of Manipur already look for a change,a civil society never like evil force anymore. BJP is only alternative for a change in the state,” said Asnikumar.

“We have an opportunity to elect a people government in this election,to save future of Manipur from the evil force. There is no alternative- it’s only BJP”, he appealed the elector of Manipur to vote for BJP and elect a BJP government in Manipur.

The VP also observed that Congress is declining in Manipur, it already proved that the two important leaders of Congress, Y Erabot Singh and N Biren already left party in against the corrupt leadership of Congress both at the state and Centre. So Congress house is not in order and it will be break like a breaking of a glass house before ensuing election. While, Th Chaoba Singh said the Congress CM of Manipur is like Hitler and local MLA K Govindas is like his captain, world is witness for excess act and misrule of Hitker till date, like that Chief Minister O Ibobi will be remember by people of state like Hitler.

“The congress is enemy of poor population of Manipur for their misruled and misappropriation of public welfare fund in the last 15 years. So people of Bishnupur should taught a lesson to this corrupt party in the ensuing election and should initiated by BJP worker to convinced the people to vote for BJP for change in the state,” said the BJP strong-man.

BJP may announce CM candidate

Imphal Times

Imphal, October 12 2016: Even as the president of BJP Manipur Pradesh had stated that the party has no plan to announce Chief Ministerial candidate for the upcoming 11th Manipur Legislative Assembly election, central leaders are now of the opinion that announcing a Chief Ministerial candidate will make the party stronger in challenging the Okram Ibobi’s party.

A highly reliable source said that the name of the Chief Ministerial candidate may be announced on Oct 16 and it is likely that the party will pick someone who has been loyal and dedicated to the BJP. Family background is also likely to be criteria for choosing the Chief Ministerial candidate. The source further added for the state of Manipur the Central BJP leader will announce the 2nd leader who will assist the Chief Ministerial candidate.

The 2nd in command will be from among new entry who had long experience in tackling the present political issue haunting the state. But the source did not reveal the name of either the two persons as the party need to prepare some more strategy.

Will Okram Ibobi return back as Chief Minister?

Imphal Times Editorial, 13 October 2016 

It’s still early, but the new development in the political theatre of the state throws out an air of suspicion on whether the present Chief minister Okram Ibobi Singh who is in the post for three consecutive terms, still have the potential of returning back to power in the 11th Manipur Legislative Assembly is now the talk of every politically conscious people.  BJP’s massive victory in the last Parliamentary election and the Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s sincerity and accountability and his success in grappling the sentiments of the people of the country at some specific issues like national security and his thrashing knockout blow the Congress regime has now make the party even more popular among the people of the country.

States in North East part of India who have insignificant numbers of elected representatives to the Parliament, have also reached the wave that is spreading across the nation and we in these region had witness how the BJP had managed to root out the Congress regime even before election is conducted.

We are talking about how the Congress led government has been rooted out from Arunachal Pradesh after the Congress Chief Minister Pema Khandu along with 42 other Congress MLAs of Arunachal Pradesh Congress Party defected and joined the Regional People’s Party of Arunachal, which is an ally of the BJP to form an alternative government with external supports from the BJP some months back.

Congress Party under the leadership of Gandhi family has been crumbled in almost all parts of the country except for the state of Manipur as of now. This is known to everybody and every aspirant politician are now opting the BJP as their top priority political party and some chose the regional political parties. However it is crystal clear that every candidates and politically sensible people knows that Manipur’s politics is totally dependent to the political party who hold power in the government.

Anti incumbency factor is always a problem for a political party who is in power for continuous 2 or 3 years. As for Okram Ibobi Singh, he is the luckiest Chief Minister ever rule the state. There are many veteran politicians who are much more experience in running the government but Okram Ibobi is different, almost every crises arises during his time was solved with timely introduction of certain laws – say for example the introduction of the 10th Scheduled.

As per records , Okram Ibobi is about 68 years old. He was born on July 19, 1948 to Okram Angoubi Singh at Thoubal Athokpam Ward No. 7. Ibobi was first elected in 1984-85 State Assembly election from Khangabok Assembly Constituency as Independent candidate. After being elected he joined the Indian National Congress and since then he has been time and again elected however defeated only once and later in 2002 Okram Ibobi was again re-elected as representative of the Manipur Legislative Assembly Election from Khangabok Assembly Constituency.

It was indeed by fate that he became the chief Minister of Manipur in that year. Horse trading of politician, which was a major factor to the failure of stable government at any states. But when Ibobi was supposed to land in trouble the Parliament passed the Anti Defection Law under the 10th Schduled of the Indian Constitution and it was this very provision that Ibobi’s position was strengthen and he managed to hold the post of Chief Minster for 3 consecutive years i.e., 15 years. 15 years is a long year and there are many things that people are not satisfied with the running of the government even though they claimed to have done many good things. This is because no people are fool, yes they are sometimes but they can’t be fooled all the time.

It is indeed too early to say whether Ibobi will return back as Chief Minister, but one thing which is sure is that he still has the capability of returning back as MLA. Meanwhile, the departure of some strongmen from the congress party is another factors that need to be deliberated. As of now MLA Biren of Heingang Assembly Constituency, the onetime Minister in the Ibobi led Congress Government and who was recently elected as the Vice President and spokesperson of MPCC, did not announced about his decision to join any party.

But Imphal Times had already reported that BJP had rolled out Red-Carpet for the Congress leader who had resigned MLA ship as well as the congress party showing anguish over the ruled of Chief Minister Okram Ibobi. For Y Erabot, former Minister of the Congress Government too have leaved the party and joined the Congress party.

The latest is former Minister in the Congress Government, Franchis Ngajokpa. As according to the desires of his workers, Ngajokpa is sure to resign for the Manipur Legislative Assembly and perhaps there is no wrong in speculating that Mr. Fanchis Ngajokta may opt the BJP. Election trends are changing, declaring Chief Ministerial candidate now is considered as an effective tool, it is likely that the BJP may announce its Chief Ministerial candidate followed by second legislature wing leader.

If the person announced is peoples’ choice then BJP might chart out an effective strategy to win at least majority seat in the upcoming poll. In 2002, Ibobi became the Chief Minister with only 20 MLAs. And why not for BJP if they have the similar numbers which is assumptive. After all the party is in the center and people have already seen how the BJP will strive hard to have a BJP led government as seen in Arunachal Pradesh.

BJP holds public dialogue in Jiribam

Imphal Free Press

JIRIBAM, October 12

Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), Manipur Pradesh conducted a one-day public dialogue on “Jiribam Development” today at the PWD Guest House, Jiribam. Dr Ch Komol Singh, retd Assistant Professor, Jiri College and RK Ranjan, Chief Convenor of State Vision Document attended the public dialogue as chief guest and president respectively. Delivering the keynote address of the programme, A Biren Singh, ex-MLA of Jiribam constituency briefed about the vision document of BJP Manipur Pradesh.

He also highlighted about the various development schemes launched by BJP Government for the welfare of people. Leaders of NGOs, who were present at the gathering, highlighted the issues and problems in context of Jiribam. They talked about pathetic road communication system, lack of proper health care facilities and educational facilities. Jiribam is a productive place but due to lack of systematic mechanism the sub-division still remains overlooked, the representatives observed, adding that Jiribam has vast potential of producing Agro based products.  Today’s programme was also attended by representatives of different communities of Jiribam.

Poster campaign held

Imphal Free Press

IMPHAL | Oct 12

Under the leadership of Adim Panmei, vice-president of BJP Manipur Pradesh, Nungba Mandal unit of the party organised poster campaign and series of booth level committee meeting from October 5 to 11 in the six District Council constituencies. The constituencies are Longmai, Dollang, Khoupum, Nungnang, Nungba and Rengpang.

The unit extended its heartfelt gratitude to all the booth level committees and the BJP supporters for their cooperation during the poster campaign. All the booth level committees within the 54-Nungba (ST) Assembly constituency have pledged to support Adim Pamei, intending candidate from the constituency in the ensuing 11th Manipur State Assembly Election, 2017.

N Biren continues tirade against Cong

Imphal Free Press

IMPHAL | October 12

Former Congress leader Nongthombam Biren today attacked his former party and said it is not the party, but its leaders who are inefficient and incompetent to work for the welfare of the people and the society. Biren had resigned from both the primary membership of the Congress and member of Legislative Assembly earlier this month.

Addressing his own felicitation programme at the Khagemba Mapa Ibungo complex, Kyamgei Mayai Leikai organised by the Universal Friendship Organisation (UFO), Kyamgei Branch, Biren said the those who have been elected by the people are not elected to boost their egos, but to work for the welfare of the people and the society. He claimed he joined politics after witnessing the issues like the Langjing incident, RIMS incident and other effects of the armed conflict in the state.

Biren, who is a former editor of local daily Naharol Thoudang said he sold his media house for a mere Rs 2 lakhs to step into politics. Recounting his journey since then, he said he joined politics and contested the state Assembly election in 2002 from the Democratic Revolutionary Peoples’ Party winning the election to represent Heingang A/C in the state Assembly.

Biren said he has always worked for the welfare of the people whenever he was elected to represent the people. He claimed he along with a few other MLAs stood against the atrocities committed by the Indian Army and have been demanding repeal of the Armed Forces Special Powers Act 1958. Biren said he had contributed a lot in getting out the Assam Rifles from the Kangla Fort and withdrawal of the AFSPA from the seven segments of the Imphal Municipality areas.

The current ruling Congress has no dignity of its own and has totally failed in governance, he said elaborating that trucks are set ablaze along the Imphal-Dimapur highway, arrested NSCN (IM) cadres are set free without any reason, actress Momoko was molested in broad daylight, however, the Ibobi-led government has never provided justice to the issues.

All these failures are evidence enough that the ruling Congress has failed to work for the people, he asserted. Seeking attention of the gathering people, Biren asked for how long the state has to kneel before the neighbouring state. It is time to bring a positive change in the state, he said.

Despite of the troubles surrounding the ILP issue, the government has failed to resolve the issue. The Look East Policy of the centre which has become the Act East Policy now will certainly attract corporate entrepreneurs, Biren said observing that once it is successfully implemented the state will naturally become a transit point which will further lead to these entrepreneurs will start buying land in the state.

In such a situation, we need to understand that lands in the hill districts are protected and it is time to implement a law which will protect the lands in the valley districts of the state. The felicitation programme was also attended by UFO, Kyamgei Branch general scretary Y Meiraba Angouba and other local imminent persons.

TDC ridicules BJP spokesperson’s statement

Imphal Free Press

IMPHAL | Oct 12

Reacting to a statement of RK Ranjan, BJP spokesperson on the All India Radio that BRO will repair the national highway 37 along Makru area within December 15 this year, H Ranjit, president of Transporters and Drivers’ Council has termed it as a political gimmick. In a press conference held at his MG Avenue office chamber, Ranjit further said the assurance made by the spokesperson is misleading and has appealed not to play politics on the national highway.

“We have been hearing lots of assurances from BRO to repair the highway since the year 2012 till today but no visible commitment is seen”, Ranjit said. He also questioned the logic of Railways not releasing fund for the maintenance of the highway, “How come Railways come into the picture of highway maintenance”, he asked.

The allegation made by BRO against Railways for transporting heavy material weighing more than 12 tons is ridiculous, its duty is to construct highway not to monitor load, he added. Ranjit said that the BJP spokesperson’s statement is confusing to the public particularly when the BRO had already expressed its inability to the state government to repair the highway in the current condition.

He informed that TDC is already collecting stones from Langjing Achouba for the repairing the said highway and it will give full cooperation to the state Works department. He also appealed to all stakeholders to extend their help in this regard.

Grassroots democracy a complete failure: Th Chaoba

Imphal Free Press

IMPHAL | October 12

Thanaojam Choaba, state BJP leader has blamed the Chief Minister O Ibobi led government of exercising power like a despot and its favourable treatment of ADC members at the expense of Panchayati Raj representatives’ interests. He was speaking at the reception function of Adhyaksha Imphal West district and Zilla Parishad members joining BJP after leaving the Congress party, at BJP Nityaipat Chuthek office today. He said there is no devolution of power both to ADC members and Panchayat elected representatives till today.

Chaoba continued that ADC elected persons are allotted government vehicles and enjoy Rs 10000 salary per month, on the other hand Adhyaksha of Zilla Parishad are not even allotted vehicle and get meagre salary of only Rs 4000 per month. There are lots of disparities between ADC members and Panchayat representatives, he alleged.

“It is an irony that the state has been conferred the best performance award in MNREGA among the states of India. The award has been achieved through manipulation of paper works by the Congress led government”, he maintained. MLA Joykishan, who also spoke on the occasion condemned the Congress and its leaders of giving consent to formation of ‘South Nagaland’ to disintegrate Manipur.

“The upcoming election is a battle between two groups. One group is who suck peoples’ blood and the other who truly stands for the safeguarding Manipur. It is time for the people to identify and know the groups”, he said. Y Basumati Adhyaksha Imphal West district said that she and two zilla parishad members, Pradhan and ward members have left the Congress party particularly from Lamshang constituency and joined BJP today.

She said the main reason for deserting Congress party is its failure to decentralise power to the Panchayat representatives in spite of repeated promises made so far. The BJP is an alternative to Congress for rural development, she added.

“Politics divides people but culture unites people”- Dr.M Nara

Imphal Times

Imphal, October 12 2016: Ningol Chakouba was celebrated at Alva’s Education Foundation held at the Auditorium Hall of the Engineering College by the Manipuri students of the very college.

It has been celebrated since the last 5 years. This very festival initiated with a few numbers of students before 5 years but it has becomes bigger and bigger in course of time and now, it has extended to the Non-Manipuris too. The festival started with a formal programme at 10:30 A.M. initiated with a welcome speech from Mr.Vivek Alva, the managing trustee of ALVA’S EDUCATION FOUNDATION followed by innovative speech from the Chief Guest, Dr.M Nara Singh.

It was proceeded by prize distribution in the various fields of education, sports, cultural and traditional achievements in the national and international level. The programmes was followed by the cultural shows like maibi dance, dhol cholom, stick dance, dasa avatar and kabui dance.

A grand Traditional Feast succeeded the programme. DAKSHINA, the gift from the brothers to sisters followed the feast. A short documentary films of Aribam Syam Sharma was shown followed by the Manipur featured film “NANGNA KAPPA PAKCHADE” written by Maharaj Kumari Binodini. Approximately around 400 individuals gathered to participate in the auspicious festival.

Javadekar tells Ibobi: Maintain law & order
IMPHAL, October | 14

Union minister in-charge of human resource development minister Prakash Javadekar condemned what he termed as “unprecedented violence” in Manipur University. “I hope the state government will be able to protect and uphold law and order,” a release issued by S Satyanarayanan, media consultant to human resource development ministry quoted Javadekar as saying.

Javadekar said he met education minister Dr Kh Ratan Kumar met him  and informed that the state Chief Minister O Ibobi Singh held a meeting with all officials and concerned agencies. “Dr Ratan Kumar also told me that “the high court’s decision is correct and the UPA government’s decision of following state government’s policy on reservation in Manipur central university is (a) correct decision, which has also been ratified by High Court of Manipur. “We have asked the state government of Manipur to maintain law and order, Javadekar said.

Biren’s clarion call on Cong MLAs
‘Resign from the party instead of wagging tails like dogs’

Imphal Free Press

IMPHAL | October 14

Resigned Congress MLA Nongthombam Biren Singh today called on Congress legislators to resign from the party as the Congress government failed to contain “lawlessness” and “state of anarchy.”

“None of the ministers in Okram Ibobi Singh government responds to the grievances of the people in the hill and plain,” Biren, who resigned from the membership of the Congress and Assembly earlier this month, charged while addressing a simple function organised to welcome him and Francis Ngajokpa with an interaction programme on the theme “a resurgent Manipur through political participation of youths and women” at Kwakeithel Moirangpurel community hall today.

Francis did not attend the programme. He sent a message saying his supporters visited him to appreciate his resignation from the Congress and MLA. Therefore, he couldn’t attend the programme, organizers of the function, Keishamthong Humanitarian Development Committee explained. Biren said there is no governance in the state citing the case of police constable recruitment controversy.

Charging that the candidates are being treated as animals Biren slammed Ibobi government for “playing” with human lives. “In such conditions it is much better to resign from politics instead of acting like a dog under this government,” Biren appealed to his former colleagues. “MLAs are allowed to meet the Chief Minister once a week. Such a system will never do well for Manipur. MLAs are frisked while entering Chief Minister’s office by his guards ignoring an MLA’s dignity,” Biren charged.

He went on to allege that MLAs are being treated like thieves, robbers or animals under Ibobi’s dictatorial style of functioning. Biren said he was fed up with Congress since three-four years back and raised voice against the government’s failure in dealing with Churachandpur and ILP issue.

Sagolband Loken too joins BJP

Imphal Free Press

IMPHAL | October 14

People in Manipur will bring downfall of the Congress as supporters of Congress leaders are pressurising their leaders to leave the party, Kh Loken ex-minister and former Congress general secretary announced today. Loken along with his councillor joined the BJP and they are given a reception at BJP office at Nityaipat Chuthek in Imphal today.

“He said a politician always obey the decision of his people. The Sagolband constituency people asked him to join BJP to give a befitting response to Congress for discriminating their own party’s workers and members,” Loken said.

BJP councillors tender resignation from IMC committees

Imphal Free Press

IMPHAL | Oct 14

Altogether 11 elected Imphal Municipal councillors of the BJP tendered their resignation from the post of committee membership from all IMC committee and department with immediate effect from today. The 11 elected IMC councilor of BJP had apprised the IMC mayor of their grievances regarding inefficiencies within the different committees and department of IMC, according to a source.

Their complaints include lack of transparency, inability to generate funds among others. Opposition leader of the IMC, H Nutanchandra said chairmen of all eight committees of the IMC are Congress councillors while the others are made to work as members of the committees.

It is unfortunate that the 16 Congress councillors including the mayor have failed to run the IMC smoothly, he said. The eight committees are project committee, Beautification and alignment committee, appointment committee, Finance and assessment committee, planning committee, Bazar committee and public work committee.

Observed Black Day, boycott Congress Party: Maoist

Imphal Free Press

IMPHAL | Oct 14

The Maoist Communist Party Manipur would like to appeal to the people of Manipur to observe October 15 as Black Day in protest against Indian Expansionism, said a statement of the outfit. It said the direct colonial and semi feudal system of the British colonialist was replaced by the Indian colonialism and semi feudal under the control and exploitation in the name of democracy and Congress is one of the chief instruments for the colonial exploitation and control over Manipur. On this Black Day, Maoist Communist Party Manipur would like to appeal the people of Manipur to boycott Congress Party in Manipur, it said.

Naoriya Pakhanglakpa BJP aspiring candidates resolve to strengthen BJP

Imphal Free Press

IMPHAL | October 14

Three Naoriya Pakhanglakpa Assembly constituency BJP aspiring candidates including Oinam Malesh, K Monoranjan and S Sobha resolved to work together and strengthen the party to ensure a befitting defeat for the sitting Congress MLA RK Anand. They were at a one day political conference together organised by the Naoriyapakhanglakpa Mandal at Phura Makhong public ground today.

During the conference, party MLA from Thangmeiband A/C Kh Joykisan said that the sitting MLA of Naoriya Pakhanglakpa is helpless on the case regarding seizure of illegal drug from the airport. Joykishan continued during an ILP rally last year, a student Robinhood was killed due to police firing of mock bombs, but till date the identity of the personnel has not been revealed.

At the same time, a police officer pulled a girl student by her hair during another ILP agitation, but the police officer has not been punished till date, he said. But a police inspector who happened to frisk a car of a Congress leader’s relatives in the heart of the town was put in police custody for a night, he said.

Electoral roll revision campaign in Chandel
Imphal Free Press

CHANDEL | October 14

With the objective to educate citizens about the electoral process in order to increase their awareness and participation in the electoral processes, District Election Office, Chandel organised an electoral roll revision campaign under Systematic Voter’s Education and Electoral Participation (SVEEP) programme at Japhou Bazar in Chandel district headquarters today.

An awareness campaign in the form of exhibiting posters relating to electoral process, disseminating of information using public address system and distribution of electoral enrolment and correction forms were done during the campaign. SVEEP’s district nodal officer Chandel W Iboyaima and district information officer S Deven Singh also took part in the electoral roll revision campaign among others.

Speaking to media persons, Iboyaima who is also the assistant project officer DRDA Chandel said that the campaign was a part of SVEEP with an objective to encourage the citizens to participate in the electoral process by enrolling themselves in the electoral roll.

BJP should be taught a lesson: Anand

The Sangai Express

Imphal, October 14 2016: Accusing the BJP Government at the Centre of planting a time bomb with a sinister design to disintegrate Manipur, Congress MLA RK Anand has called upon the people to teach BJP a befitting lesson. He was speaking at the inaugural function of a newly constructed multipurpose community hall at Malom Tuliyaima Awang Leikai.

BJP ticket aspirants would be appreciated by the masses if they go to Delhi and try to find out the details of the Framework Agreement signed between the Government of India and NSCN-IM, Anand said. BJP knows the details of the agreement but they are not divulging it to the people, he alleged. BJP does not respect the sentiments of Manipur and they have been conspiring to re-write the history of Manipur after distorting the 2000 years old history of Manipur.

BJP has been going together with NPF which has been demanding integration of Naga inhabited areas. As  such, BJP is also one active agent which has been working to disintegrate Manipur, charged the MLA. One cannot save Manipur by hopping from one political party to another. BJP should stop challenging the territorial integrity of Manipur, Anand asserted. He also expressed astonishment over the emergence of a power-hungry, irresponsible people to contest Assembly election in Naoriya Pakhanglakpa AC. Kodompokpi Zilla Parishad Member L Surchandra and Pradhan K Ibeyaima too spoke at the gathering.

How voters vote in Manipur

Morung Express

October 13, 2016
By Witoubou Newmai

Peculiarities and odd situations are not anomalies in Manipur. One significant peculiarity in the state is the placid voting pattern during assembly elections witnessed in the past two decades. Turbulent situations triggered by ethnic issues engulfing every pocket, both in the hills and in the valley, seldom affect the electorate. However, undeterred politicians continue to encourage voters to fear: valley people grabbing tribal lands, Manipur to disintegrate in the event of Naga political issue settlement, migrant influx etc. These politicians do not gaze to other issues pricking the people.

The Manipur electorate goes to polls in few months’ time, and with it, ethnic based issues as poll cards have become a popular menu for politicians today. The Naga political issue, the Kuki demands, the Meitei Scheduled Tribe (ST) demand, and the Inner Line Permit (ILP) related issues are going to be the slogans for political parties. However, the political configuration is such that issues like these often get neutralized by the so called ‘political compulsion’ of parties and politicians’ ethnic affiliations.

To elucidate, politicians from the hills (Kuki and Naga) have common concern in Inner Line Permit related and other tribal issues but the cheese-chalk narratives of the Naga-Kuki political and social equations will dispel their unity. In the valley, the politicians find a strong root to harmony in Manipur territorial integrity issue but that unity is not sturdy enough to withstand the ripples often emanated from the warring BJP and the Congress party (from Delhi).

The communal flare up between the Meiteis and the Nagas in the year 2001 triggered by the “without territorial limit” declaration of NSCN (IM)-Government of India (BJP led NDA) ceasefire failed to reflect in the assembly election of 2002. Out of 11 Naga dominated assembly constituencies the BJP could pocket only two seats, that too after immense pressure on the voters from certain quarters to boycott the Congress party and favour the saffron outfit. The verdict was almost the reverse to what was predicted. The valley districts fared worse.

Riding on the popular Manipur territorial integrity slogan wave emanated from the June 18, 2001 flare up, some Meitei ‘hardliners’ sternly opposing the NSCN (IM) ceasefire extension in Manipur floated a political party christened as Democratic Revolutionary Peoples’ Party or DRPP (the term ‘revolutionary’  was deleted few months later) hoping to capitalize the people’s sentiment in the 2002 assembly polls. However, it could manage to pocket only two seats. There are 40 assembly constituencies in the valley. Shortly later, the two DPP legislators joined the Congress party.

Again, in the year 2010 when Th. Muivah wanted to visit his native village in Ukhrul there was heightened communal tension in Manipur when the Ibobi Singh government barred him from stepping into Manipur soil. The simmering atmosphere was again fueled to the next level with the all out investment of resources by the Ibobi Singh government to prevent the expansion of the Naga People’s Front (NPF) to Manipur in the year 2011. It was a foregone conclusion for many political pundits that the Cock party would sweep the polls in Naga bastion in Manipur in the 2012 assembly polls with the hurt Nagas going against the Ibobi government. Again, it was the reverse of the popular calculation. Out of 11 seats in the ‘Naga areas’ NPF could clinch only four.

Similar voting pattern was witnessed in the valley too. The Irom Sharmila fasting issue, the extrajudicial killings of Thangjam Manorama Devi and Sanjit have been the reasons for the anti AFSPA campaign in the valley in the past 15 years, with the public calling the Ibobi Singh government as too weak, insipid and unfit to be called a people’s government. But in times of elections the same people voted the Ibobi Singh government to power for three consecutive terms.

For ordinary voters who are constantly disturbed by the thought of medical fees, job security, education of their children, decent meal and other basic facilities, money becomes the immediate balm to soothe their headaches.

Chaoba rides on opinion poll

Imphal Free Press

IMPHAL | October 15

According to the India Today-Axis opinion poll, state BJP will share 40 percent of the total 60 seats, Congress party 37 percent and other political parties 28 percent. But the state BJP will get more seats than projected by the opinion poll in the ensuing Assembly election.  This was stated by Th Chaoba, state BJP leader while interacting with media persons today at his official quarter Babupara here today. He said that upcoming 11th Manipur Legislature Assembly election which is going to be polled in early part of the 2017 is an important task for BJP government at the Center.

 He further said that the election is a mission to eradicate Congress party in UP, Goa, Punjab and Manipur. “We are confident that BJP will win more than 40 seats. The Congress will be reduced to single digit even though they have 52 MLAs at present. But the voters of Manipur will throw them out like the voters of Haryana, Assam and Rajasthan have done in their respective state elections”, he added.

 He continued the Narendra Modi wave has already reached the Northeastern states. The recent joining of three strong senior Congress MLAs to the BJP is a remarkable development.  Clarifying on the ‘Frame Work Agreement’, he said the Congress has been seeking the detail of it but Chief Minister O Ibobi has met the Prime Minister twice in connection with it. The Chief Minister should clarify instead of maintaining silence, he added.

 He further alleged deputy Chief Minister Gaikhangam of giving consent to the formation of ‘greater Nagaland’ by openly signing on an agreement. The Congress has record of giving away Manipur’s land. For example the Kabow Valley was given away by Jawaharlal Nehru. Rishang Keishing is no different in this regard, he said. He also maintained that state governance has not reached the hill districts of Manipur. “The people of Ukhrul have boycotted the visit of the Chief Minister. This is their response to the Congress governance in the hills”, he said.

Ibobi says he is not perturbed by exodus

Imphal Free Press

THOUBAL | October 13

Chief Minister Okram Ibobi Singh today shrugged off the recent resignation of three party MLAs saying their departure will not have any deterrent effect to the party. They must have left the party due to their own personal issues, the Chief Minister said, and added it is not that they are against the party.

Ibobi was speaking at a one-day political conference held at Chaoyaima Higher Secondary School, Thoubal playground organised by the Thoubal Block Congress Committee today. Party workers should not be disheartened, the Congress will certainly form the next government as well, because the people of Manipur have full faith in the Congress and they still love the party, he told the party workers.

Regarding Tadubi MLA Francis Ngajokpa’s resignation from the party, the Chief Minister said that although reports said Francis resigned from the party due to pressure from the people of the constituency, it is an open secret who were behind the people pressurising him. They were all forced to leave the party by such circumstances, he said.

Just because there is a BJP government in the centre doesn’t mean they can rob the Congress ruled states of their monthly share of funds, he said citing when Prime Minister Narendra Modi was the Chief Minister of Gujarat, the UPA government in the centre never denied Gujarat its fund share. He elaborated India has a federal structure; a state cannot be denied its share of fund.

Stating that the state government’s financial status is quite normal at present, he said the perception that since there is a BJP led government at the centre, the state’s financial status will weaken is quite unfounded. It is due to all the love of the people that the Congress has managed to rule the state for the last 15 years, he said adding the government will never betray the trust and faith of the people.

He said, preparations for compilation of the various developmental works taken up by the government in the last 15 years in the form of a book are complete. Ibobi said when the Congress led government came to power in the state in 2002, the previous government’s attempt to implement the 6th pay commission in the state had resulted in an overdraft of more than Rs 550 crore due to which the government was unable to even give salaries and pensions of its employees in time.

The then Vajpayee government in the centre also neglected the state’s grievances, he said adding that in 2004 when the Manmohan led UPA government came to power in 2004 the centre waived off the overdraft and led the state towards the path of development. Attacking the BJP led government at the centre, Ibobi said despite the union ministers making a beeline to the state, it is astonishing that none of them have announced or assured any developmental projects for the state.

Chief Minister Okram Ibobi also observed development will follow naturally once peace is ushered in the state. He also appealed to the people to support and strengthen the party and work together to bring unity in the state. In his speech, MLA K Ranjit said the BJP will not be able to win a single seat in the 2017 election, because the party is not suitable to Manipur.

The conference was also attended by MPCC president TN Haokip, ministers Ak Mirabai, Govindas Konthoujam, M Okendro, Md Nasir and MLAs N Loken, Y Surchandra, O Landhoni among others.

India Today-Axis poll: Another North East jewel likely to be in BJP’s crown after Assam

The Sangai Express

Imphal, October 15 2016: JP is likely to unseat the Congress by winning 31-35 seats in Manipur. Ahead of the polls, four Congress legislators have resigned from the party.

Survey says the Sonia Gandhi-led party may not win more than 19-24 seats. Manipur will be the second north-eastern state after Assam to turn saffron, the India Today-Axis opinion poll has revealed. If elections in the state are held today, the party is likely to unseat the Congress by winning 31-35 seats. That is a huge dent in the state so far dominated by the Congress, which had more than 50 MLAs in the 60-member Assembly.

However, with less than six months to go for the polls, as many as four Congress legislators have resigned from the party. The Manipur Assembly right now has an effective strength of 53 instead of 60 after three from Congress and four Naga Peoples Front MLAs resigned from the House recently. The survey says the Sonia Gandhi-led party may not win more than 19-24 seats in the forthcoming state election.

In terms of vote share, that is three points less than the BJP’s 40 per cent. Also, more people (37 per cent) in the state agree with the BJP’s mission of a Congress-free India than disagree (33 per cent). Nearly 30 per cent voters were not sure if a Congress-Mukt Bharat is a good idea.

The Inner-Line Permit (ILP) issue remains the biggest election plank for an overwhelming 62 per cent of the voters in Manipur. With the influx of foreign tourists and illegal immigration from Bangladesh, Nepal and Myanmar, the state wants ILP to protect its indigenous people. The ILP is a government of India document to allow an Indian citizen access into a protected area for a limited period. Currently, it is operational in Arunachal Pradesh, Mizoram and Nagaland. The second major issue for Manipuri voters is better infrastructure (12 per cent) followed by more employment opportunities (11 per cent).

Interestingly, the removal of the Armed Forces Special Powers Act ( AFSPA ), for which Irom Sharmila went on a 16-year hunger strike, finds no resonance with the voters in Manipur. Only six per cent of those surveyed said they want the AFSPA to go. Sharmila, once hailed as the Iron Lady of Manipur, has now been summarily rejected by her state. While just one per cent of those polled said they want her as their next Chief Minister , a massive 75 per cent said her epic hunger strike against the Indian Army is no more an election issue. When asked if they will vote for Sharmila if she contests the 2017 polls, 73 per cent of Manipur’s electorate replied in the negative.

While nine per cent said they will, 18 per cent were not sure.

BJP Manipur Pradesh expecting to bag 40 seats

The Sangai Express

Imphal, October 15 2016: Even though an opinion poll reportedly conducted by India Today predicted that BJP may win 31 to 35 seats in the State Assembly election, BJP Manipur Pradesh is expecting 40 seats. Speaking to mediapersons at his Babupara office today, BJP State election management committee convenor Th Chaoba said that BJP may win 31 to 35 seats in the 60-member Manipur Legislative Assembly according to an opinion    poll conducted by India Today.

The opinion poll says that Congress may win 19 to 24 seats, NPF three to five seats and others two to four seats. However, according to the party’s own calculation, BJP may win 40 seats and Congress would secure less than 10 seats. In the last Assembly election of Haryana, BJP emerged as the single largest party while Congress went down to fourth position. Congress went down to third position in Rajasthan too.

No assurance for BJP tickets

The Sangai Express

Imphal, October 15 2016: Sitting MLAs who have resigned from their respective posts and joined BJP anew would not be given any concrete assurance of BJP tickets in advance. Some key functionaries of BJP told The Sangai Express that some sitting MLAs belonging to other political parties were admitted to BJP after due consultation with the party’s top leadership. But they would not be given any concrete assurance for party tickets.

BJP has been examining all the potential candidates so that BJP can form the next Government in the State after the 11th Manipur Legislative Assembly election which is likely to be held early next year. Sources informed that BJP has been working to bring as many as 10 sitting Congress MLAs into the party. BJP leaders are expecting that at least 10 Congress sitting MLAs would join the party ahead of the State Assembly election.

Meanwhile, North East Democratic Alliance (NEDA) convenor Hemanta Biswa Sarma who contested the last Assam State Assembly election on a BJP ticket after quitting Congress would be arriving here tomorrow. Hemanta Biswa Sarma may be accompanied by BJP organising secretary (North East States) Ajay Jaiswal and Assam BJP organising secretary Phanida Sharma. The main purpose of their visit to Imphal is to chalk out the party’s strategy for the Manipur Legislative Assembly election.

They may say something about sitting MLAs who have joined or would join BJP anew, conveyed the BJP functionaries. The team led by Hemanta Biswa Sarma may stay at Imphal for a few days and consult State BJP leaders on the party’s poll strategy, the sources added.

Sharmila, don’t go for election, lead people to vote for change and repeal AFSPA

Imphal Times Editorial, 16 October 2016

Manipur is an incredible land. People takes just a few second coupled with hollow promise by politicians to change the mindset and take them forget the 16 years of sacrifice made by a lady , now popularly called Iron Lady. August 9, this year will be engraved to all the politically sensitive people of the state. It will be remembered by the people of the state generation after generation, not because the AFSPA crusader had stopped the Ghandhian style of protest but rather the activist herself has been made believe that electoral politics is the most effective tools to fight a social cause.

A world figure, a believer of non-violence has said that she stopped fast protest as it gave no affect and to achieve her goal she change the strategy of fighting the most heinous draconian law. Many people appreciate her decision to change strategy for repeal of the dreaded act. But on the other hand many are making mockery of her decision as they know that election is different from the real issue. It is about money, power, relatives and Delhi.

Having said so, Irom Chanu Sharmila is can be an effective factor of the upcoming 11th Manipur Legislative Assembly Election which is just 100 days from now. Not only people in the state but people from across the country as well as some from aboard particularly those working in the field of Human Rights consider her as an icon. But her popularity decline here in her home state not because people have forgotten her sacrifices but because she chose something which is considered as the last refuge for scoundrels. Election regalia, as experience from what has been happening in the last couple of terms, it is clear that no sincere persons, who are willing to sacrifice for his or her state, had ever succeeded.

It is history and is known by everyone. In democracy, election perhaps is the best way to protest or bring reform, but necessarily that he or she should go for it. The term politics and fighting election is for scoundrel can be change if people across the state are well aware and educated on whom to elect. This is the point that we in the Imphal Times wanted to put up. Irom Chanu Sharmila can be an effective factor to change the mindset of the people if she kicks campaign to let the people understand about electing qualified and committed representatives. But things will not be that effective if she herself chose to contest election.

Every concern human rights activist, senior citizens, scholars ad not the least those who love their motherland wanted a change. But lack of efficient leaders had failed to bring about a change that many people have been awaiting since the last couple of terms. Campaigns to educate voters to choose the right candidates in the upcoming poll have been witnessed in the state. These campaigns are organised by various social bodies. But the unfortunate part is that they campaign without communicating each other as there is trust deficit even among those leaders of the organisation who wanted people to vote for the right person. This is a clear sign of lack of an efficient leader. This vacuum can only be field if Irom Sharmila, the AFSPA crusader comes out and unit all these organisation to work together.

Worrying times for the Congress: Looking at the Delhi effect

The Sangai Express Editorial, 15 October 2016

The Congress must be worried. Sure four erstwhile MLAs of the Trinamool Congress have gone into their fold, but it says something significant that three Congress MLAs have already quit the party and while Y Erabot has joined the BJP, it is highly likely that the other two, N Biren and Francis Ngajokpa, too will follow suit. Remember it is not only the figure that has to be counted, but also the fact that the three ditched the Congress which is there in power for the third consecutive term.

Others may join the Congress and it may not say much but leaving the Congress at this point of time and joining the BJP will surely be seen as something more than MLAs switching sides. This is all that more so given that the State Assembly is poised to go in for polls in the early part of next year. To the keen political watchers, the new development may not come as such a big surprise for remember the political equation in the State has always been dictated by what happens at Delhi. Remember how the BJP managed to pull the rug from the feet of the Radhabinod Koijam Government in the summer of 2001 when the BJP headed the NDA Government at Delhi.

This is but just one instance that comes to mind. Significantly the BJP has managed to make inroads into the North East unseating the Congress in the Assam Assembly election held some time back and now comes the latest information that  the BJP has now become part of the coalition Government under the People’s Party of Arunachal Pradesh at Itanagar. The development in these two States is sure to have an impact on Manipur and clearly the Congress must be worried. How it goes about to neutralise the BJP juggernaut, as seen in the Assembly elections in other States, remains to be seen and this is what will make the coming Assembly election all that more interesting.

In the hills too, especially in the Naga dominated district, the BJP seems to be making inroads while the Congress MLAs stand ex-communicated in Ukhrul district with the Tangkhul Naga Long leading the boycott call. Even the proposed visit of the Chief Minister to Ukhrul to inaugurate the 100 bedded district hospital, SBI bank, 132/33 and 33/11 sub-stations has been boycotted by the Tangkhul Naga Long. In Churachandpur too the Congress is on slippery ground, particularly after the Assembly passed the three Bills on August 31 last year. The political equation is such that the loss of the Congress is bound to be seen as a gain for the BJP and vice versa. Still early to read the election tea leaves, but the coming days will be interesting in more ways than one and the focus of the people will surely be on these two political parties. The others will not be much more than side players.

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