Chapter 39

Provide escorts to Sharmila: ECI to Govt

The Sangai Express

Imphal, February 25 2017: Election Commission of India (ECI) has asked the State Government to provide security escorts to Irom Sharmila who will be contesting in the ensuing 11th State Legislative Assembly election on People’s Resurgence and Justice Alliance (PRJA) ticket. It also asked the Government to submit a report on the efforts made to open the two National Highways within tomorrow.

Sources said the direction was given during a video conference held this evening in the presence of Chief Secretary O Nabakishore, DGP LM Khaute, Additional Chief Secretary (Home) Suresh Babu and CEO VK Dewagan. Sharmila who fasted for 16 long years to demand repeal of Armed Forces Special Power Act (AFSPA), 1958 is contesting from Thoubal A/C, the home constituency of Chief Minister O Ibobi.

The video conference also discussed the prolonged blockage of Imphal-Dimapur road (National Highway-2) and steps taken up by the State Government to clear the highway. The Government officials vividly apprised ECI about the escort of tankers and trucks loaded with essential items along Imphal-Jiribam road with the help of paramilitary forces. Damage caused to the newly constructed Barak bridge today after 200 vehicles passed over it was also dscussed during the conference.

According to the sources, the bridge suffered heavy damage just after a truck ferrying 600 cement bags weighing 42 metric tonne passed over it. The Government officials assured ECI that there is enough stock of fuel to be used for election purposes.

Modi calls for ‘percentage’ free CM, Ministers ; Framework Agreement will not infringe upon Manipur: PM Narendra Modi

The Sangai Express

Imphal, February 25 2017: After Union Home Minister Raj-nath Singh, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has cate-gorically stated that the Framework Agreement signed between the Government of India and NSCN-IM on August 3, 2015 will not infringe upon the integrity of Manipur and its territorial boundary.

Addressing an election rally held at Langjing Achouba ground, Imphal West today under the aegis of BJP Manipur Pradesh, Prime Minister Narendra Modi clarified that the Framework Agreement does not contain a single word which would have any implications on the territorial integrity of Manipur. Pointing out that it has been almost 18 months since the agreement was signed, the Prime Minister stated that he would like to ask the Chief Minister of Manipur if he wrote any letter of enquiry to the Central Government about the Framework Agreement during all these days.

‘I’m standing on the sacred soil of Manipur and I pledge that the Framework Agreement does not contain anything which may affect the integrity of Manipur and its territorial integrity’, Narendra Modi stated.

He went on to claim that BJP would accomplish in 15 months what the Congress Government could not do in 15 years provided BJP is given the reign of power just for one term (five years). For the past 15 years, the Congress party has been looting the people of Mani-pur through rampant corrup- tion. On the other hand, BJP has been serving the people of the country sincerely for just around two years and a half but there is a gulf of difference.

People of Mani-pur would see this differ- ence and make a sound judgement with regard to the ensuing State Assembly election, exuded the Prime Minister. Rampant corruption is the only noticeable ‘achie-vement’ of the Congress party during the past 15 years. Forfeiture of the rights of peasants and workers, exploitation of women and children and failure to secure the future of youth are the hallmarks of the Congress Government.

The Congress Government has been subjugating the entire population of Manipur, Modi slammed. It was during Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s Government that the Ministry of DoNER was esta- blished for the first time in the interest of the North Eastern region. This was followed by 10 years of UPA rule which was led by Congress party. One shocking scene seen during those periods was the Prime Minister’s and the Union Ministers’ refusal to meet North East Chief Ministers who came to see them at Delhi.

‘As for me and the BJP, the door is always open to all North East Chief Ministers’, stated the Prime Minister.

India cannot progress when the North East region is languishing in underdevelopment. It was with a vision to bring speedy development in the North East that the Ministry of DoNER was set up.

‘Since I assumed the post of Prime Minister, many Union Ministers have visited the North East region around 90 times’, Modi asserted.

Congress party’s reign of corruption will never be forgotten. All the public money they looted would be recuperated and the money would be used in funding welfare programmes for the poor and the underprivileged, the Prime Minister pledged. Those people who got nervous and ran helter-skelter when the old Rs 500 and Rs 1000 notes were demonetised on November 8 last year were all Congress politicians.

Rampant corruption committed by the Congress Government by launching massive recruitment drives just before the election notification was issued is known to everyone. Asking who is known as ‘10 per cent CM’, the Prime Minister asserted that Mani-pur needs 0 per cent Chief Minister and 0 per cent Ministers. Talking about the economic blockade, the Prime Minister maintained that it is the duty of the State Government to ensure that peo- ple have access to all daily requirements.

People have been suffering miserably because the Congress Govt has been perpetuating the economic blockade for too long. At the same time, the Congress Government has been immensely benefiting black marketers. While maintaining a close nexus with blockade supporters, the Congress Government has been inciting people to raise an uproar against the blockade. The Prime Minister then assured that all possible assistance demanded by the State Government to get the blockade lifted would be provided.

There would be neither bandh nor blockade in Manipur in case BJP comes to power in the State, Modi asserted. Commenting on National Sports University (NSU), the Prime Minister stated that the Central Government, acknowledging the outstanding achievements of Manipuri players, decided to set up an NSU in Manipur and the necessary fund was sanctioned. But the project has been delayed on account of the misplaced policies of the corrupted Congress Government. Rather than ensuring regular power supply to the people, the Congress Government is bent on keeping the people in darkness.

Talking about new programmes and schemes, the Prime Minister announced that a policy of recruiting youth from the North East in Delhi Police has been taken up and efforts are on to develop the North East as an ‘organic’ region. He then appealed to the people of Manipur to vote for BJP for a peaceful, progressive and developed Manipur. The election rally was also participated by Union Minister of State for Home Kiren Rijiju, Union HRD Minister Prakash Javadekar, DoNER Minister Dr Jitendra, BJP National general secretary Ram Madhav, MLA Thongam Biswajit and BJP Manipur Pradesh president K Bhabananda.

BJP to end blockade if voted to power: Modi
Modi joins clarification spree, says no mention of Manipur in framework agreement

Imphal Free Press
IMPHAL | Feb 25

Prime Minister Narendra Modi today promised to end the UNC sponsored indefinite economic blockade in Manipur if the BJP comes to power in the state and said what the Congress could not do in 15 years, the BJP will do in 15 months.

A 50,000 strong crowd of BJP supporters thronged the Langjing Achouba ground to hear PM Modi speak.

He launched a scathing attack on Chief Minister O Ibobi Singh, accusing him of ‘running the most corrupt government’ and ‘taking 10 per cent commission’.

Addressing a massive public meeting in poll-bound Manipur, the Prime Minister said, ‘Manipur’s development was stalled under the Congress government’.

‘What the Congress government could not do in 15 years our (BJP) government will do it in 15 months,’ he said, lashing out at the Congress government for ‘failing’ to provide jobs, infrastructure, and proper drinking water to the people.

Modi also accused the Ibobi government of spreading ‘false campaign and misleading the people’ on the Naga Accord.

‘I assure you that there is no single reference to ditching the Manipur people or its interests in the Naga Accord’, he said.

Ridiculing the Congress government, Modi said, ‘Naga accord was done one-and-half years back. What were you doing? Were you in a deep sleep? And all of a sudden you have woken up before elections. You are making false claims to mislead the people,’ Modi said.

He announced that Manipur’s territory will not be compromised during any agreement with the NSCN(IM), asserting that there was not even a single word to disturb the state’s territory.

He further alleged that the Manipur Chief Minister did not write any letter to him regarding the matter.

On the indefinite economic blockade launched by United Naga Council (UNC) in November last year, the prime minister said, ‘It is the responsibility of the state government to make available essential commodities. But the people here are not getting medicines and other commodities.

‘There is a blockade on the national highways for so many months, but no action has been taken. Congress is hand-in-glove with those who have resorted to the blockade. I told the state government that the Centre is ready to extend whatever help it required.

‘BJP will form the next government in Manipur and no blockade will be allowed then. We will show how a government is run,’ he said.

The Congress wants to reap benefits by letting Manipur ‘burn’ and by ‘pitting one tribe against another for the sake of the chair,’ he said.

‘What kind of cheap politics is this where you make brothers fight against each other’.

Manipur is said to be the ‘Switzerland of India’, Modi said that if Congress continues to rule the state then this beautiful land will go backwards.

Modi expressed that state Chief Minister is popularly known as Mr 10 percent. He said that Congress wants votes for 10 percent commission from development projects of the state but BJP wants votes for 100 percent development.

The public meeting was attended by Union minister of state for home affairs Kiren Rijiju, Union HRD Minister Prakash Javadekar, NE in charge Prahlad Singh Patel, BJP state president Ksh Bhabananda, former president Th Chaoba Singh and Thongju MLA Th Biswajit Singh.

The titular king of Manipur Leishemba Sanajaoba was also present on the dais.

Congress is the main reason AFSPA is present in the State: Conrad K Sangma

The Sangai Express

Imphal, February 25 2017: Lok Sabha MP and National People’s Party (NPP) National president Conrad K Sangma has said that the Congress Government is the main reason why AFSPA is still present in Manipur.

Speaking at the flag hoisting ceremony of NPP candidate Vivek Raj Wangkhem of Kshetrigao A/C at Porompat Thawanthaba Leikai yesterday, Conrad K Sangma said that the rise in number of insurgents in the State is the end result of the Congress Government’s rampant corruption.

He urged the people to elect the right candidates in the coming election adding that NPP’s main focus is bringing development to all the North East States.

He claimed that the party would play a huge role in forming the next Government in Manipur.

Kshetrigao A/C NPP candidate Vivek Raj Wangkhem claimed that the party will bring change and development to the State and would try to improve socio-economic conditions of the Assembly segment and its people, and the whole State in the process.

Biren lauds PM Modi

Source: The Sangai Express
Imphal, February 25 2017: Ex-MLA N Biren announced that the Centre has, on February 22, issued an order to extend monetary assistance to pregnant women, lactating mothers and students who have secured high marks.

Speaking at the flag hoisting programme of BJP candidate from Singjamei AC Yumnam Khemchand, N Biren said, ‘The Centre has issued an order to transfer Rs 6000 each to the personal bank account of pregnant women and lactating mothers of the country.

Rs 10,000 each will be transferred to the respective bank account of those students who have secured 75 per cent of marks in exams while students who have secured 85 per cent will get Rs 25,000’.

Lauding Prime Minister Narendra Modi for initiating such significant step, N Biren said that the Centre has also assured to provide Government job to one individual in every household.

He alleged the State Government of misusing public fund and giving more emphasis to election than to the suffering of the people due to the ongoing economic blockade.

He said that BJP has already a taken a decision to set up a dedicated highway protection force if the party forms the next Government and that personnel of highway protection force will be deployed along Imphal-Mao road, Imphal-Jiribam road and Imphal-Mooreh road in order to protect the people.

Modi didn’t do homework properly, says Ibobi ; CM points at ‘UNC-NSCN(IM)-PM’ nexus

The Sangai Express

Imphal, February 25 2017: Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s claim that the ongoing economic blockade would be lifted on March 13 and the people of Manipur would be able to celebrate Yaoshang festival without any shadow of economic blockade pro-vided BJP is elected to power was a clear indication of the close nexus the Prime Minister has with the UNC and the NSCN-IM, asserted Chief Minister Okram Ibobi.

Addressing a press conference at Congress Bhavan here this afternoon, Ibobi stated that the Prime Minister should clarify whether the economic blockade would go on in case BJP fails to win the ensuing election.

Such a statement that the blockade would be lifted if BJP is elected to power was never expected from the Prime Minister, Ibobi remarked.

Reacting to the Prime Minister’s claim that a Congress leader was consulted before the Framework Agreement was signed, the Chief Minister asked who was the particular Congress leader.

If the Prime Minister cannot name the particular Congress leader, it would be assumed that he was misleading the people of Manipur.

It was only today the Prime Minister clarified that the Framework Agreement did not contain anything that might disturb the territorial integrity of Manipur, Ibobi pointed out while questioning as to why the agreement was kept a close-ly guarded secret all these days.

He went on to ask as to why the contents of the Framework Agreement are not made accessible to the Government of Manipur and why it is not put in public domain.

The Prime Minister was saying that there would be 24 hours power supply in Manipur in case BJP is elected to power because he did not do his homework properly before coming to the State.

After the power sector has been reformed, people of Manipur have access to 24 hours power supply in a day.

Manipur power reform model was recommended by the Prime Minister himself for implementing in his home State of Gujarat.

Moreover, officials of the Ministry of Power recommended that the Manipur power reform model should be applied all across the country.

Asking what has the Centre’s BJP Government done for development of Mani-pur, Ibobi questioned the pathetic condition of Imphal-Jiribam highway which was included in the Modi Government’s 100 days programmes.

Many Union Ministers have visited Imphal around 90 times but nothing has changed on ground.

It was not only Manipur.

The Prime Minister was giving false hopes to the entire North East region but the Prime Minister’s falsity is known to the people of Manipur, Ibobi asserted.

When UPA Government was at the Centre, the Northeastern States were given special category status under which they were provided Additional Central Plan Assistance of Rs 800 crore, Normal Central Assistance of Rs 900 crore and Special Plan Assistance of Rs 450 crore annually.

However, all the Northeastern States were deprived of the special category status soon after NDA came to power at the Centre and all the additional central assis-tances were cut off.

For its outstanding achievement of having the lowest infant mortality rate in the country, Manipur was given incentives of Rs 300 crore, Rs 350 crore and Rs 380 for three consecutive years when UPA Government was there at the Centre.

These incentives were also cut off since NDA came to power.

UPA Government funded 30 per cent of the total amount needed for setting up industrial infrastructure in the North East with a view to attract investors to the North East region.

This funding pattern was also abolished by the NDA Government, Ibobi stated while questioning whether all these policy changes initiated by NDA Government can be incorporated within the Act East Policy.

Even as 320 acres of land was given for construction of National Sports University as against just 200 acres demanded for the same purpose.

However, after a gap of more than one year and a half, the Central Government contended that the area allotted was low-lying.

Even then, the State Government asked the Central Government to start NSU construction work at any place they preferred, Ibobi rued.

BJP has been shouting ‘corruption, corruption’ at Congress.

Many central agencies are in the hands of the Central Government.

If they dare, bring out a single evidence, Ibobi challenged.

Recruitment of more than 400 teachers under RMSA and a large number of teachers for SSA were all done based on performance.

Moreover, many recruitments were done through MPSC which was acclaimed as one of the best in the country and there was no political influence in any of these recruitment processes.

But it appeared that the Prime Minister was unaware about these facts, Ibobi remarked.

There was no communal clash in Manipur during the past several decades.

There was no communal confrontation in Manipur when there was UPA Government at the Centre.

‘But when there was NDA Government at the Centre, Manipur was literally burning.

I don’t know about Gujarat’, Ibobi stated.

Whereas there was no communal clash in Manipur, there was the infamous Gujarat riot.

At present too, there is the burning issue of the Framework Agreement and nobody knows what will happen to Manipur if BJP forms the next Government, added the Chief Minister.

Massive crowd witnessed at PM’s election rally

The Sangai Express

Imphal, February 25 2017: Despite the total shut down called by CorCom, an umbrella of underground outfits against the visit of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to the State today, a large number of people turned up at Langjing Achouba playground where the PM addressed en election rally to garner vote for BJP for the ensuing 11th State Legislative Assembly election.

Since early morning, people coming from different parts of the State gathered at the venue. They were transported by vehicles including bus arranged by BJP candidates of the respective constituencies. They were thoroughly checked by security personnel using metal detector.

Water bottles, gutkha, khaini, pan and other eatable items were not allowed to carry inside the venue.

Before the PM lands at Imphal Tulihal Airport, half of the portion of the venue got occupied by BJP supporter, workers and its well wishers at around 10 am.

The vehicles were stopped by security personnel few kilometers away from the venue.

Many of the vehicles were made to park at Oriental College ground.

However, passenger vehicles were allowed to proceed up to Khamnam Bazar and made to park at a playrgound near the venue.

Vehicles carrying BJP office bearers and candidates of the forthcoming election were allowed to proceed up to Langjing Achouba around 300 meters away from the venue.

Roads leading to the venue were jammed, making police personnel hard to control the huge crowd.

Soon after PM Narendra Modi landed at Tabungkhok in an Indian Air Force chopper, the crowd cheered on his arrival.

During his speech, BJP supporters chanted slogans praising the PM and NDA Government at the Centre.

LJP demands

The Sangai Express

Imphal, February 25 2017: Lok Janshakti Party Manipur State Unit has demanded the concerned authority to take up appropriate action against the people involved in an election related scuffle.

A press release issued by the Chief General Secretary of LJP Manipur State Unit alleged that the workers of Yairipok A/C Congress candidate K Meghachandra, former councillor Rupachandra and his people attacked LJP candidate Kangabam Jadumani and his supporters while he was on the way to meet some friends regarding the coming election.

Although, the LJP candidate narrowly escaped unhurt, two party vehicles were destroyed and many LJP workers were injured in the attack.

Two of the workers had to be transported by ambulance to hospital and their conditions are quite serious, it added.

According to the press release, security personnel provided by the State Government fled the scene when the attack began leaving the LJP candidate defenceless.

The party strongly condemned the attack and demanded the concerned authority to take appropriate action against those involved in the attack at the earliest, it added.

BJP denounces assault by NSCN (IM) cadres

The Sangai Express

Imphal, February 25 2017: Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Manipur Pradesh has condemned the inhuman and brutal physical attack on president of BJP Tamei Mandal Committee, Ramtahungbe, vice-president Agunwangboiu Pamai and others including social activists by armed cadres who identified themselves as cadres of NSCN (IM) Zeilad Region at Chingkao village under Tousem Sub-Division, Tamenglong district on February 17 last.

According to a press release issued by Media Cell of BJP Manipur Pradesh, the cadres who were armed with sophisticated weapons threatened to kill BJP workers if they open BJP election offices, hoist the party flag and campaign for its candidates of the ensuing Assembly election.

The release said it is unbecoming of the outfit which has been engaging in peace dialogue with Government of India which is led by BJP.

Is it BJP against the Naga cause or is it a ban party in Naga areas.

What is the motive of the organisation to ban BJP workers opening its election offices and campaign in favour of its party candidate in 52-Tamei A/C while the rest of the BJP candidates and their workers in other Assembly Constituencies have been freely campaigning and doing election process in full swing, it questioned.

The party demanded immediate clarification from the cadres involved in barbaric and violent activities against the BJP workers of the constituency and physical torture on innocent public of the area within three days failing which it will put up the matter with the higher authorities of the party for taking up appropriate action against the crime committed on the fateful day.

The party, in the press release also claimed that on February 23 night some NPF workers armed with sophisticated weapons and dressed in full camouflage looted a sum of Rs 16, 000 from Kailinang s/o Phenri of Phellong village under Tousem Sub-Division.

It contended that the workers who identified themselves as NSCN (IM) cadres also warned the villagers not to open BJP election offices in the village.

Rijiju calls for dethroning Cong Govt

The Sangai Express

Imphal, February 25 2017: In a bid to woo the electorates of 43-Phungyar (ST) A/C, Kiren Rijiju, Union Minister of State for Home Affairs attended a mega public rally at Kamjong HQ as chief guest yesterday in support of Somi Awangshi, BJP candidate of the constituency for the forthcoming Assembly election.

The public rally was organised by BJP Phungyar Mandal.

Addressing the crowd of more than 2000 people, Kiren Rijiju urged the voters to cast their vote for Somi Awangshi in the second phase election to be held on March 8 for a change of leadership and Government.

He said that there is a need for a change of Government as the present ‘corrupt’ Congress Government has ruled Phungyar constituency for the last 40 years with no development of infrastructure.

He stressed on the need to have a clean Government for speedy development in the constituency.

The Union Minister deplored the pitiable condition of roads in the constituency, saying the roads which were there duirng the World War II are still used by the people.

Lamenting on the poor road connectivity in the district, he appealed to the people to dethrone the ‘corrupt’ Congress Government from the State.

If elected to the power BJP Government will provide potable water to all the citizens of Manipur, he announced.

He also articulated the welfare programmes initiated by PM Narendra Modi.

Somi Awungshi thanked the Union Minister for coming to the remote sub-division to campaign for him inspite of the latter’s tight schedule.

He said that he joined BJP party because it is a corruption-free party.

He assured that if he is voted to power he will bring all round development which the present Congress Government has failed to deliver.

BJP Manipur Pradesh extends gratitude

The Sangai Express

Imphal, February 25 2017: BJP Manipur Pradesh has expressed its deepest gratitude to the people and supporters who came to attend Prime Minister Narenda Modi’s rally at Langjing Achouba today.

Speaking to media persons at the party office at Nityaipat Chuthek, BJP Manipur Pradesh president K Bhabananda expressed gratitude to all the people who participated in the event.

Confirming the credibility of the PM’s speech regarding the Framework Agreement at today’s event, Assam Finance Minister Himanta Biswa said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi had notified Congress President Sonia Gandhi and the leaders of other political parties after signing the Framework Agreement.

If BJP forms the Government, there will be no more blockade in the State, he added.

Replying to a query, Himanta Biswa said, ‘Construction and maintenance of National Highways are the Central Government’s responsibilities.

When the Jaats protested by blocking highways in Haryana, the situations was quickly handled because BJP was in power in the State’.

BJP spokesperson N Biren said that the Congress party has always been deviating from the core issue adding that as the Prime Minister has spoken about the Framework Agreement, the Congress party should stop brooding over the issue.

ECI hopeful of peaceful poll

IMPHAL | Feb 22

The ongoing economic blockade will not disturb the upcoming state assembly election and the polling on March 4 and March 8 will be peaceful, free and fair, chief election commissioner Nasim Zaidi told reporters here today.

Nasim expressed this confidence after reviewing the poll preparation and situation in the Naga dominated areas where blockade is enforced and picketing of government offices by volunteers of the United Naga Council (UNC) is on.

The Election Commission assured political parties and voters that adequate security would be provided to ensure a peaceful and trouble free polling.

‘Adequate CAPF (central armed police force) will be deployed in advance for confidence building measures to reassure the voters and instil faith and confidence in them. Daily route marches of CAPF will be carried out and review meeting will be conducted by district magistrates and senior superintendents of police on day to day basis. The CAPF vehicles on route marches must have proper signage and public address system,’ Nasim said.

Declining to disclose exact strength of CAPF to be deployed for polls the ECI chief said adequate number of central armed police force (CAPF) would guard each of the polling stations. He added that the central forces would start arriving in the next few days.

He instructed state authorities to maintain strict vigil to check cross-border smuggling of drugs, liquor and other illicit items from neighbouring states of Mizoram, Assam and Nagaland and Myanmar.

Enforcement agencies have seized Rs 38,03,000 in cash, 51,754 litres of liquor worth Rs 57.67 lakh and narcotic drugs worth Rs 8 crore.

‘Action against all identified trouble-mongers, anti-social elements, bad characters, goondas, proclaimed offenders and bail jumpers etc. must be taken in order to prevent them from vitiating the election process and intimidating voters,’ he said.

He said 18 assembly constituencies have been identified as sensitive while 352 village/localities have been identified as vulnerable. 837 polling stations have been identified as critical polling stations.

Gaikhangam invited attacks, says Adim

IMPHAL | Feb 22

The attack on the deputy Chief Minister, Gaikhangam, enroute to Khoupum was the result of his provocation to armed groups during the inauguration of Noney district recently and not BJP’s doing as blamed by Gaikhangam, charged BJP Nungba candidate Adim Pamei.

Adim Pamei stated this during an election meeting held today at Shangji village in Nungba constituency.

He said that Gaikhangam during the inauguration of the Noney district openly dared armed group that he is not afraid of such attacks.

Now that he got the result of his provocation, rather than show his might he is blaming the BJP, which has nothing to do with the incident, quipped Adim.

‘Gaikhangam could not do anything with regards to yesterday’s attack. So out of frustration he is blaming the BJP’, Adim said.

Sonowal dangles Assam change before state voters

IMPHAL | Feb 22

Assam chief minister Sarbananda Sonowal today urged the people of Manipur to defeat the Congress and help BJP in bringing a change. He addressed a series of election rallies in Imphal valley.

Addressing an election meeting in Imphal’s Sagolband constituency, Sonowal said, ‘Assam had witnessed a change last year, it is now time for Manipur to bring a change.’ The BJP has fielded a former minister Khwairakpam Loken Singh in Sagolband.

Sonowal accused the Okram Ibobi Singh-led Congress government for playing politics with the ongoing economic blockade when the people are facing lot of hardship. ‘It is the responsibility of the state government to lift the economic blockade. How can the Congress government blame the centre,’ he said.

Sonowal said, ‘If there was a similar economic blockade in Assam, it will be our government’s duty to lift it.’ He said the state government cannot blame the centre when it failed to perform its duties.

Development NEIDP poll plank

IMPHAL| Feb 22

North East India Development Party (NEIDP) vice-president, Elangbam Brojendro Singh today reiterated that his party’s motto is to bring development.

Brojendro was addressing the flag hosting ceremony of paty candidate Sheikh Kheiruddin in Lilong constituency held at candidate’s residence at Lilong Chingkham Makha.

Deliberating NEIDP’s ideology of development, he said development is not mere construction of roads, bridges, buildings etc. It is to be a true developed state or NE region as a whole. Human resource is most important which have to be mobilised and upgraded so that development could reach each and every sector of human life.

BJP ‘infuses’ insecurity among minority people

IMPHAL | Feb 22

There is a sense of insecurity among the minority communities of the nation especially among the Muslim community since the BJP led NDA government came to power, said minister of Education and Transport, Kh Ratankumar Singh.

He was speaking during the one day political conference of Indian National Congress (INC), organised by Mayang Imphal Block Youth Mahila Congress Committee at Bengoon Maning Awang Leikai today.

‘India will be incomplete without Muslims’, he said and added that India is a country inhabited by different communities making it a most diversified country.

He further said that BJP is promoting only Hindu religion making BJP a religious extremist. He charged that BJP is a Hindu oriented political party that will lead to segregation among the different sections of society.

He said that Congress on the other hand is a secular political party that respects and regards all religions as equal. Congress is a political party that provides sense of belongingness and security to the entire citizen of the country, he added.

Speaking on Indo-Naga framework agreement, he said that there have been voices and agitations demanding for transparency of the contents of it. On the other hand BJP leaders are repeatedly explaining that the agreement has nothing that challenges the state territorial integrity.

Congress belittles BJP vision document

IMPHAL | Feb 23

AICC vice-president, Rahul Gandhi, will arrive in Imphal to address an election rally on February 28 at Hapta Kangjeibung, palace compound Imphal.

Addressing media persons during a press meet held at Congress Bhawan, MPCC president TN Haokip, informed that all DCC, BCC, Congress workers including INC candidates will take part in the election rally.
He said during the rally Rahul Gandhi will highlight all the achievements, manifesto and past experience of the Congress government in Manipur during the past 15 years before adding that the Congress party Manipur in their manifesto has given top priority to the territorial issue.

Coming down hard on BJP, Haokip said the so called ‘vision document’ of BJP which they claimed to be manifesto, is not a legal document but a ‘wishful thinking’ document, he said.

‘Any vision document is not a legal document unlike manifesto which is a legal document,’ he added.
A point in the document, stating that the BJP has firm commitment to protect Manipur’s territorial integrity is nothing but an attempt to bluff the people of Manipur again for the fact that it is not a legal document, he alleged.

The MPCC president said unlike the BJP the Congress party has made a clear mention in their manifesto to urge the Centre to provide constitutional safeguard for the territorial of Manipur if voted to power.
The president alleged that BJP has bluffed the people of India and Assam to form the government in the latter’s state.

Now, the BJP is trying to bluff the people of Manipur by not releasing their manifesto, he said questioning,
‘Where is the manifesto of BJP?’

Stating that the BJP will eventually come to know the stand of the people of Manipur after the election, he said the people cannot be easily fooled by BJP.

Another bluff in the vision document is the promise to give jobs to jobless family and to provide drinking water to all the household of Manipur, he said.

He questioned whether the BJP has conducted survey and found out the requirements in order to materialise their promise.

Manipur could go beyond Gujarat’IMPHAL | Feb 23

Manipur could go beyond Gujarat with good governance, said Chief Minister of Assam Sarbananda Sonowal.

Sonowal was addressing a public meeting today as political campaign for BJP candidate of Kshetrigao constituency Nahakpam Indrajit Singh at Iranpham community hall.

He said that he belongs to North East region of India and together can bring a change in the state towards development and for a better society.

He further said that since 1952 Congress is in rule but failed to bring any concrete development especially for educated youths, women and to marginalised sections of society.

He charged that Congress leaders are busier in siphoning off public funds.

Sarbananda Sonowal expressed that he is proud to be part of this region and said that he would like to bring likeminded government in the state for better development and connectivity.

BJP NE in charge Prahlad Singh Patel said that the losses that incurred from the bandhs and blockades should be accountable. The State Chief Minister O Ibobi must be responsible and accountable for the state losses, he added.

If Kashmir can be called as ‘heaven’ then Manipur is no less than ‘heaven’, Prahlad Singh Patel said that state resources are wasted with ill governance.

He assured that if BJP comes in power in the state then any educated youth will not necessarily have to go outside for jobs. He said that state is also beholding talents in handicrafts but state government has failed to provide value addition.

For a better change, he appealed the gathering electing their representatives in the ensuing 11th Manipur Legislative Assembly election very wisely.

Effigies of PM and CM burnt
IMPHAL | Feb 23
As the 11th general assembly election is getting nearer agitation of students organisation is also getting hotter demanding the disclosure of framework agreement.
Today also volunteers of AMSU and KSA agitated at three different places.
Volunteers of AMSU Imphal east wing agitates at Khurai Lamlong and Pureiriomba Khongnangkhong, Palace Compound this evening.
After the protest at Khurai Lamlong the protesters continued at Pureiriomba Khongnangkhong with the woman meira paibies of the locality.
Shouting the slogan ‘Withdraw the black law from Manipur’, ‘Long live Manipur’, ‘Bring out framework agreement’.
While a team of Imphal police team trying to stop the agitation AMSU members burnt down the effigies of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chief Minister O Ibobi.

Manipur not benefitting from DONER: Rajen
IMPHAL | Feb 23
Manipur is not benefitting enough from the creation of Ministry of Development of North Eastern Region (DONER) due to Congress rule in the state, said Union minister of state for Railways Rajen Gohain.
Rajen Gohain was speaking at the flag hoisting function of BJP candidate Yumnam Khemchand of Singjamei constituency at Yumnam Leikai Lairembi Lampak today.
He said, Manipur is blessed with beautiful natural resources and human resources that could excel to an advanced state. But it is lacking behind with an incapable Congress government in the state.
He mentioned that projects that are sanctioned through DONER for the development of the state could not be fully materialised as project funds are mostly utilised for personal benefits by the Congress leaders.
He said that survey for laying railway line from Imphal to Moreh has already been completed. Once railways are commissioned in the state, Manipur will become a business hub.
Speaking on the issue of Indo-Naga ‘framework agreement’, he said that Union Home Minister has already clarified that it does not contain anything that will disturb the state territorial integrity.
He said that Central Government is trying to streamline NSCN-IM under the Indian Constitution.
State BJP spokesperson Nongthombam Biren Singh said that state government is only ruling in the greater Imphal only. He said that Congress government has failed to connect and bring harmony among different communities of the state.

CorCom declares ‘total shutdown’ on PM’s visit
IMPHAL | Feb 23
The Coordinating Committee (CorCom), a proscribed conglomerate of militant outfit operating in the state boycotting the proposed visit of the Indian Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, declared total shut down on February 25 from 6 am till his stay.
A release signed by media coordinator, Ksh Yoiheiba said the proposed visit of the Prime Minister is to deceive the people of Manipur with false promises in the name of development.
His visit is an attempt to implant Indian colonialism into the soil of Manipur for it to take deep root, and on the one hand exploiting the traditional economy and the productive forces of the land. The Indian state by colonising Manipur has been stifling the growth of the region under its captive market regime, it said.
Since the ‘annexation’ of Manipur 67 years ago, under its colonial rule, the Indian state has been oppressing the people of the region with gross violation of human rights, it said. The Indian state has been relentlessly trying to inject a sense of dependency into the psyche of the indigenous population through various means, it added.
The release continued that the people of Manipur should not forget that the proposed visit of the Prime Minister is to befool the public with his colonial designs and crafty deceits. It appealed the people to make the total shut down a success to express outright rejection of the colonial system.
In the shut down essential services like electricity, fire service, water supply, religious ceremonies are exempted, including medical emergencies and media, it added.
PRJA releases election manifesto
IMPHAL | Feb 23
The Peoples Resurgence and Justice Alliance released its election manifesto today at the Manipur Press Club, Imphal.
The party is fielding three candidates Erendro Leichombam (Thangmeiband), Irom Sharmila (Thoubal) and Najima Bibi (Wabagai).
For the first time in the history of the state the three candidates have taken oath before an oath commissioner H Iboyaima Singh that they will make use of MLA Local Area Development Fund and other funds transparent and accountable to the people of their respective constituency if they get elected in the coming election.
The manifesto was released by the party convenor Erendro Leichombam, co-convenor Irom Sharmila, co-convenor James Mayengbam and treasurer Najima Bibi.
Speaking to media persons Sharmila said that politics becomes a business in Manipur, so she have joined politics as she thought that it is everyone’s responsibility to change the trend of politics and its dirty system.
She said PRJA ideology is to connect with the people and bring a real democracy to the state. PRJA candidates do not need security escorts like other party candidates as they are just an ordinary citizen of the democratic country and PRJA is to have a good positive relation with the people, she added.
‘If PRJA loses in this election it will not be a loss for them, but a big loss for the whole people,’ said Sharmila.
Erendro said that though PRJA was formed only 5 months earlier, they saw a great future and the supports of the public who are fed up of the current unjust system of the state.
He added that though many people asked for the party ticket, they choose only the right person who can sacrifice for the welfare of the people and the state as their candidate since the party believes not on quantity but quality.
The manifesto promises to repeal AFSPA, to establish Lokayukta and anti-corruption bureau, to redraft the three ILP bills, to reserve at least 33 percent seats for women in all elective offices, bring development to small-scale industries, to supply clean water supply for all, to rebuild high quality public infrastructure, to strictly monitor the public services, relocate military camps to at least 10 kilometers’ radius from all residential settlements, market places, educational compounds and cultural heritage sites and lastly to establish a protest site to ensure bandh-free education.

BJP political conference
One-day political conference organised by Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Oinam Mandal of BJP candidate, Laishram Radhakishwor Singh who will be contesting in the upcoming election was held at Oinam Awang Leikai, Bishnupur.
The function was attended Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal, state BJP Election Management Committee convenor Th Chaoba, president of Oinam BJP Mandal Th Inaoton Singh and president of Election Management Committee Oinam Mandal S Tomba Singh.
Stating that we all know what CM Ibobi had done in his 15 year long tenure, Sonowal appealed to the voters not to vote for congress on any ground.
Alleging that Ibobi regime did little for the welfare of the youth, women and farmers, he said the Congress government failed in other fronts including power, safe drinking water and road construction.
Maintaining that a bribe of Rs 5 to 10 lakhs is taken for recruiting to a post, he said voters should not vote for such a party and for such a government.
Stating that the CM of Manipur, ministers and MLAs are incorrigibly corrupt, Chaoba alleged that they have siphoned off all the funds sanctioned for the people of the state.

LJP will have role in govt formation
IMPHAL | Feb 23
Although the state is gifted with natural resources which is abundantly available, development could not brought due to never ending issues prevailing in the state, said Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) chairman of central parliamentary board Chirag Paswan, MP.
He was addressing the gathering for the LJP flag hoisting ceremony for Langthabal constituency candidate Karam Shyam at Chajing Mairenkhong Community hall today.
Chirag Paswan said that LJP will be a deciding factor in forming the government and that an LJP candidate also will be proposed for the post of Deputy Chief Minister.
He mentioned that the ensuing 11th Manipur Legislative Assembly election slated on March 4 and 8 is a chance for the public choosing their right representative.
He said that the number of people that turned up for the flag hoisting ceremony made him believe that Karam Shyam is still a public choice.
He assured the public saying that their belief in Langthabal present MLA for good governance will not go wasted. He said that LJP will participate in completing pending developing projects and in bringing solutions to the prevailing issues.

EVM randomisation

Imphal Free Press
IMPHAL | Feb 21

The first randomnisation of the electronic voting machines for the 10 assembly constituencies of Imphal sast district was done today at the Panchayat Bhawan, DC office complex. A release said the 10 assembly constituencies are Khundrakpam, Heingang, Khurai, Kshetrigao, Thongju, Keirao, Andro, Lamlai,  Yaiskul and Wangkhei.

During the process, the district election officer, general observers, ROs concerned and representatives of different political parties were present. Meanwhile, the returning officer, of Heingang assembly constiuency has issued a notice stating that the second randomnisation of EVMs will take place on tomorrow at Panchayat Bhawan.

Supporters clash at Langthabal

Imphal Free Press
IMPHAL | Feb 21

Pre-election chaotic situations have erupted in the state for the ensuing 11th Manipur Legislative Assembly election scheduled for March 4th and 8th. Karam Shyam accused BJP candidate O Joy of hooliganism and said. Unruly activities from his escorts and his supporters will not be tolerated in future.

MLA Karam Shyam was speaking during a press meet held at his residence located at Chajing Mairenkhong today. Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) candidate for Langthabal constituency Karam Shyam said that many of the Langthabal locals especially women folks were about to have a political gathering at his Lilong Chajing Mairenkhong residence at around 8 pm yesterday.

He said that a group of women folks were blocked at Lilong Chajing Awang Leikai by the escort personnel of O Joy and tried to harass them.

Case lodge against Facebook page

Imphal Free Press
IMPHAL | Feb 21

A case has been registered against a Facebook group ‘Daily Kanglei Updates’ by the Porompat police station for posting allegations against INC candidate Khurai, Dr Ng Bijoy Singh. The case was registered by the police under section 505/500/34 IPC and 123 (3A) RP Act following a complaint lodge by general secretary of Khurai block Congress committee, Leishemba Thongam.

Leishemba Thongma filed a written complaint to the SP Imphal East district alleging that the group has uploaded false information in social media, Facebook. It the complaint he said the Daily Kangleipak Updates a Facebook page group accusing Dr Bijoy INC candidate of Khurai stating that he instigated to arrest few workers of BJP candidate of Khurai AC on February 15.

He claimed that the allegation is totally false and baseless and that it was a serious allegation, amounting to gross criminal defamation and is in violation of model code of conduct. He appealed to the police to take urgent and necessary action against the group. With the offence non-cognizable the matter was put before the chief judicial magistrate Imphal East, N Noutuneshori.

No CM has power to remove AFSPA: Bishwajit

Imphal Free Press
IMPHAL| Feb 21

BJP MLA Thongam Bishwajit today campaigned for the party candidate in Saikul constituency of Kangpokpi District, Paojalet Touthang during the candidate’s flag hoisting cum blessing ceremony held at A-Leikot village. Bishwajit pitied the sitting MLA of the area for the backwardness situation citing deplorable condition of inter village road connectivity in the area.

The BJP MLA insisted villagers to question their MLA on where the local area development has used and to produce report on the development works he has implemented. He lamented that the MLA has never visited his area. Referring to Congress government’s statement to strive for removal of Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act from the state if Congress comes to power again in the state, Bishwajit questioned CM Ibobi if CM could repeal AFSPA anytime then what he has been doing so long.

No CM has power to remove AFSPA but it will be repealed from the state automatically when the peaceful status of law and order is restored in the state, he added and lamented congress for trying to befool innocent people. Bishwajit further accused congress government for dividing the brotherly relationship between hill and valley which largely affects peaceful co-existence among diversified communities.

Ready for tripartite talks with UNC: CM

Imphal Free Press
IMPHAL | Feb 21

Chief Minister Okram Ibobi Singh said today that he was ready for tripartite talks with the United Naga Council (UNC) to end the crippling three-month-long economic blockade. He also accused the BJP of having a ‘tacit understanding with the UNC’ and said the saffron party’s ‘gameplan’ will fail in the March elections.

The land-locked state is witnessing an indefinite economic blockade by UNC since November 1, 2016 against the state government’s decision to create seven new districts by bifurcating the existing ones and upgradation of Sadar Hills to a full-fledged district. Asked whether the state government is ready for tripartite talks with the UNC to resolve the ongoing crisis, Singh told PTI, ‘Yes, we are ready.’

Asked as to why the matter was not discussed with the UNC before bifurcating the districts, Singh said, ‘We tried to discuss, but they were not listening. We had to sit together but they did not respond when we invited them (for talks)’.

Nungba BJP clarifies

Imphal Free Press
IMPHAL | Feb 21

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), Nungba Mandal has clarified that the allegation made by MPCC spokesperson Khumukcham Joykishan Singh in the local media against the BJP and its official candidate Adim Pamei of Nungba constituency alleging BJP for all the violences and unlawful activities and having nexus with Zeliangrong United Front (ZUF) and NSCN-IM is false and baseless.

A release signed by the general secretary (organsiation) of BJP, Nungba Mandal Poudinlung Riamei said the BJP and Adim Pamei has no nexus with ZUF, NSCN-IM or any organisation as alleged by the Congress spokesperson.

Militants ambush Dy CM, two hurt

The Sangai Express
Imphal, February 21 2017: Two policemen were injured when suspected Zeliangrong United Front (ZUF) militants attacked a motorcade of Deputy Chief Minister Gaikhangam as he went to hoist the Congress party’s flag in connection with the State Assembly election at his Khoupum Tampak residence today.

According to information culled from the spot, suspected ZUF militants attacked the Deputy Chief Minister four times before he reached his native village Gaidimjang, when he was at his native village and again after he had left Gaidimjang for Imphal.

The first attack was launched at around 7.50 am at Lubanglong Khunou (Namkaolong) Part II along Old Cachar Road about 6/7 Kms away from Khoupum Tampak. The suspected ZUF militants first attacked a road opening party comprising of police and MR/IRB personnel. Even though the State forces retaliated, there was no casualty on either side.

The militants attacked a police team which came from the direction of Rengpang near Irang river at around 8.30 am. No one was hurt in the ambush but the Gypsy in which Nungba SDPO Rocky Pao was travelling suffered some damages. The Deputy Chief Minister arrived at Lubanglong Khunou (Namkaolong) Part I at around 9.30 am along with a large number of security escorts.

Gaikhangam stayed there for sometime following the two consecutive attacks. The road ahead was sanitised by a combined team of State forces, Central security forces and the army. Then Gaikhangam proceeded to his native village only with bullet-proof vehicles. His supporters who were trailing his motorcade were allowed to proceed to Gaidimjang after sometime.

The militants launched another attack for the third time at Lubanglong Khunou Part II, some distance away from the spot where the first attack was launched, at around 12.30 pm when the Deputy Chief Minister was at his home.

One police personnel was injured in the attack. The injured personnel has been identified as Yumnam Jinesh (34) of Thangmeiband Sinam Leikai. He is an IRB man attached to police commando.

CSOs demand disclosure of FA details ‘Do not use FA for electoral gains’

The Sangai Express
Imphal, February 21 2017: The United Committee Manipur (UCM), Committee of Civil Societies Kangleipak (CCSK) and the Nongchup Imphal Meira Paibi Apunba Lup (NIMPAL) have categorically stated that the contents of the Framework Agreement signed between the Government of India and NSCN-IM on August 3, 2015 should be made accessible to the people of Manipur.

A public meeting was held today at Keishampat Lairembi community hall on the Framework Agreement under the aegis of UCM, CCSK and NIMPAL. Speaking at the gathering, UCM vice-president Sunil Karam appealed to all political parties and candidates not to stoke people’s sentiments by harping on the Framework Agreement in their efforts to garner maximum votes.

He also appealed to all the people not to trust political parties and candidates who have been campaigning by listing the Framework Agreement as their main agenda.

‘We always welcome the peace talk going on between the Government of India and NSCN-IM but any such peace process should not challenge the territorial integrity of Manipur’, Sunil said.

Neighbouring States should not interfere in the internal affairs of Manipur and integration of Naga inhabited areas should not affect the territorial integrity of Manipur, he added. Even though different political parties as well as the State Government have been pledging that they would safeguard the integrity of Manipur, none of them do anything to keep the integrity of the State intact, Sunil remarked.

It’s a matter of great concern that political parties have been attempting to capitalise on the Framework Agreement in their efforts to woo voters even though nothing has been divulged about the agreement, he added. CCSK president Arjun Telheiba said that people need to urge all political parties and candidates to state their positions regarding the Framework Agreement.

People should not forget that political leaders seldom keep their promises and the same applies to the territorial integrity of Manipur too, Arjun Telheiba said. Nonetheless, he expressed keen desire for all political parties and candidates to take pro-active roles so as to make the contents of the Framework Agreement accessible to the people of Manipur.

Gaidon calls for another round of talk

The Sangai Express
Imphal, February 21 2017: UNC president Gaidon Kamei has stated that his main concern at the present stage is to bring an amicable solution to the ongoing economic blockade considering the desire of the people and appealed to all to sustain effort to solve the issue at the earliest.

He made the statement after coming out of the Court of Chief Judicial Magistrate Imphal East along with information secretary Shangkhel Stephen who appeared before the Court today. The two UNC leaders currently lodged in Manipur Central Jail were earlier remanded to judicial custody till March 3 in connection with different cases filed against them regarding the ongoing blockade.

He said that certain points of understanding were brought in the last tripartite talk held in New Delhi. However, he denied to give details of the understanding brought about. He further said that if any of the parties is not satisfied with the points then all of them must review it to bring an acceptable solution at the earliest in the interest of all the communities.

MPP demands white paper

Imphal Free Press
IMPHAL | Feb 21

The Manipur People’s Party has demanded to produce a white paper on the points incorporated in the framework agreement signed between the government of India and NSCN (IM), said a release. If the details of the accord are found to affect the integrity of Manipur, the party will be in opposition to the agreement, it said adding that the party along with the unity of people are ready to fight against it at all cost.

BJP can never wrest power from Cong: Ibobi

The Sangai Express
Imphal, February 20 2017: BJP can never wrest power from Congress by concealing the contents of the Framework Agreement signed between the Government of India and NSCN-IM, and by using the militant outfit as the cat’s paw, asserted Chief Minister Okram Ibobi.

A flag hoisting ceremony of Congress candidate in Naoriya Pakhanglakpa AC RK Anand held today at the latter’s Kwakeithel Akham Leikai residence under the aegis of Naoriya Pakhanglakpa Block Congress Committee After hoisting the party’s flag, a public meeting was held at Lourembam Leikai ground where O Ibobi categorically stated that BJP’s efforts to wrest power with the support of NSCN-IM and the UNC will never be fruitful.

‘This does not mean we are NSCN-IM’s antagonists but BJP leaders should not take the people of Manipur as fools’, Ibobi stated. ‘As long as the people of Manipur stand united and put their faith in Congress party, New Delhi can never alter the territorial boundary of Manipur at their whim, he said.

The future of Manipur should be decided by her people, not by those individuals who come from Delhi or Assam. No external forces would be allowed to interfere in the internal affairs of Manipur, Ibobi asserted. Taking serious note of Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh’s verbal assurance that the Framework Agreement would not affect the territorial integrity of Manipur in any manner, the Chief Minister asked why the Central Government is still keeping the Framework Agreement a closely guarded secret if it does not contain anything inimical to the interest of Manipur.

The verbal assurance has only aggravated the suspicion of Manipuri people, Ibobi continued. After the Framework Agreement was signed, some Nagaland MLAs together with MLAs of some other North Eastern States went to Delhi and met AICC president Sonia Gandhi.

IT Dept detects Rs 12 crore black money

The Sangai Express

Imphal, February 20 2017: Investigation Wing of Income Tax Department, North East Region detected black money amounting to Rs 12 crore during raids conducted in different parts of the State after the announcement of election code of conduct for the forthcoming State Assembly election.

This was claimed by IRS Director Income Tax (Intelligence and Criminal Investi- gation), Vikram Sahay during a press briefing held at the conference hall of Hotel Classic Grande this evening.

The press briefing was held after a one-hour long review meeting on works taken up by officers and officials of the Surveillance Wing of Income Tax Department, North East Region.

Vikram Sahay said that pursuant to the announcement of the general election 2017 to the State Assembly by Election Commission of India (ECI), various teams of the Department were deployed in order to keep a close surveillance and monitor over movement of cash and other valuable items, suspicious or potential, to be used for bribing electors during the ensuing election.

He said that besides opening a 24x7 control room of the Department in the State, surveillance/investigation teams were deployed at Tulihal International Airport and other major airports close to the State. He informed that the investigation wings are also working in close connection with Directorate of Income Tax (Intelligence and Criminal Investigation) Guwahati.

He said that the investigation wings are exercising their full strength and collecting information from various sources. The Income Tax official maintained that investigation teams of the Department were deployed in all the districts of the State and the Department is also closely monitoring routes where movement of huge of money is possible.

The Department has successfully conducted raids in seven locations in the State during which black money worth Rs 12 crore was detected, he said. He further informed that the money has been frozen by the Department so that it could not be used to bribe electors in the coming election.

However, he declined to provide identities of the individuals and firms from where the black money was detected, citing the matter is confidential. Vikram Sahay went on to say that the Department is keeping a close watch on deposition of huge amount of money in banks as the money could be withdrawn for election purposes. He said that a report on the works taken up by the Department in connection with the election will be tabled before ECI tomorrow.

He appealed to the public to communicate the control room of the Department about movement of huge amount of money and other valuable items during the election. IRS Principal Director of Income Tax (Investigation) NER Guwahati and other officers of the Department intelligence units were also present at the press briefing.

Most promises of 2012 fulfilled, claims Ibobi

The Sangai Express
Imphal, February 20 2017: Chief Minister Okram Ibobi has claimed that most of the promises made by Congress party ahead of the previous State Assembly election in the year 2012 have been fulfilled.

Congress party’s manifesto for the ensuing State Assembly election was released today by AICC general secretary Dr CP Joshi at a function held at Congress Bhavan. Chief Minister O Ibobi, Deputy Chief Minister Gaikhangam, MPCC president TN Haokip, MP Thangso Baite, AICC leaders, Ministers, MLAs, candidates and many MPCC leaders were also present at the function.

Speaking at the occasion, Ibobi claimed that most of the promises made by Congress party to the people of Manipur in the run up to the 2012 State Assembly election have been fulfilled. Talking about some main features listed in the 19-point election manifesto, Ibobi stated that Congress party would urge the Central Government to enact a Constitutional safeguard in order to protect the integrity and territorial boundary of Manipur.

The party would work to further improve the law and order situation and maximum efforts would be invested to repeal AFSPA from all Assembly segments, Ibobi stated. Altogether three lakh youth would be provided jobs in different sectors through skill development under PPP model.

Potable water would be made accessible to every household of Manipur by 2022. Apart from making Imphal city one of the cleanest cities in the country, free internet connectivity would be provided throughout Imphal city. Maximum efforts would be invested to protect indigenous people. Transport and communication infrastructure would be fully developed by 2022 so that there is seamless connectivity between the hill districts and valley districts of the State.

Congress party would make all efforts to ensure that railway connectivity is extended up to Moreh by 2022, Ibobi continued. On account of people’s faith in Congress party, there have been stable Congress Government in the State for the past 15 years. For this, the Chief Minister conveyed gratitude to the people of Manipur.

He then sought people’s support to enable Congress party execute what have been left out and what it could not accomplish during the past 15 years.

Want to bring a positive change for the youth: Kamei William

The Sangai Express

Imphal, February 20 2017: All India Trinamool Congress candidate for 54-Nungba A/C, Kamei William Kabui has said that he wants to bring a positive change for the youth in the State in light of the coming election. Speaking to media persons at his Langthabal Khoupum Kabui village residence, Kamei William Kabui said that Manipur has been trapped in a never ending loop of issues and problems.

The people of the State, especially the youth, have been suffering due to the failure of the leaders and the Govt to solve the problems prevailing in the State. He pointed out that he decided to contest the election in order to try and bring a positive change for the people.

He said, ‘It is really unfortunate that the youths of the State have begun straying from the right path due to the lack of opportunities and platform’.

‘Other countries and States are developing rapidly while our State is stuck at a stage where we are still stealing from one another’, William said.

BJP organises roadshow

The Sangai Express
Imphal, February 20 2017: Langthabal Kendra Polling station number 14 and 15 BJP booth level Committee organised a aoadshow campaign from Mantrikhong Makha Leikai to Mantrikhong Mayai leikai and also organised a public meeting at Mantrikhong Mayai Leikai community hall.

A huge number of people took part in the road show campaign.

Speaking at the public meeting, ex MLA O Joy appreciated the people of Langthabal Matrikhong polling station number 14 and 15 for their support during the past elections.

He said that the Kendra would now experience change and development after many years of suffering under inexperienced and incompetent leaders.

O Joy said, ‘Narendra Modi has been trying to bring development to the North East States including Manipur.

It would be illogical to deny all the opportunities to bring a stable and developed State, to create a better Manipur for the future generations, to bring a clean and fair society’. It does not matter even if I do not become the MLA nor win the vote, a tiger never loses its distinctive colour, he added.

CM rakes up sports varsity issue to chide BJP
 The Sangai Express

Imphal, February 20 2017: Cautioning the people against the ‘lies’ and ‘deceitful tactics’ adopted by Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) to garner people’s faith, Chief Minister O Ibobi asserted that Congress unlike the saffron party is a responsible political party which works according to the pulse of the people.

He said this while addressing the flag hoisting ceremony of Paonam Brojen, INC candidate from 34-Wangjing Tentha A/C for the forthcoming 11th State Assembly election at the candidate’s residence at Wangjing Wankhei today.

The flag hoisting ceremony attended by thousands of people was organised by Wangjing Tentha Block Congress Committee.

Speaking as chief guest, the Chief Minister said that BJP cannot fool the people by making false promises and indulging in blame game to woo voters. Referring to construction of National Sports University in the State as an example of his claim, he said that a Central team of BJP chose Yaithibi Loukol as the site for construction of the university.

The university can be constructed in any suitable place in Imphal West, Imphal East, Bishnupur and Thoubal district. The onus of the State Government regarding the construction is to give the required land asked by the Central Government.

The State Government has nothing to do with the selection of site for the construction, he clarified. He pointed out that Yaithibi Loukol was chosen as the site by the central team after inspecting other feasible sites in Imphal West, Imphal East, Bishnupur, Thoubal and some hill districts along with its DCs.

In inspecting the sites, the State had incurred crores of rupees. Documents on selection of the site are with the State Government, he claimed. Ibobi reiterated that the State Government gave 400 acres of land at Yaithibi Loukol much more than the 200 acres of land asked by the Central Government. After clearing the decks for construction of the university, an official team of BJP including Union Minister Vijay Goel arrived in the State and decided to shift the site to Koutruk in Imphal West.

They contended that the university cannot be constructed at Yaithibi Loukol citing the site as a low lying area and that a large tract of paddy fields and houses would be affected, he said.

Maintaining that the State Government had given 320 acres of land at Koutruk above the 200 acres of land demanded by the Central Government, the CM alleged that the BJP Government at the Centre was hesitating to pass a bill in Parliament with regard to the construction. Taking a jibe at the saffron party, Ibobi said that the State Government by incurring a huge amount of money constructed a helipad to felicitate the Prime Minister who was supposed to arrive in the State in connection with the construction but the PM did not come, exposing the lies of BJP.

Will contest election to bring equality for the tribals: Thomas

The Sangai Express

Imphal, February 20 2017: Manipur National Democratic Front (MNDF) candidate for Tadubi A/C, Hingba Thomas has said that he decided to contest the coming election after experiencing neglect and indifference shown by the Ministers, MLAs and the Government. Speaking at a flag hoisting ceremony held at his Lairouching village residence, Hingba Thomas said that most of the tribal people living in the hills are underprivileged and underdeveloped due to negligence by the Government, Ministers and the authorities.

Even the quota reserved for the poor tribal students are being snatched away by rich people, he claimed. He pointed out that he decided to contest the coming State Assembly election after witnessing the inequality faced by the underprivileged tribal people who were duped by past leaders who promised to improve their conditions.

MDNF working president Bijoy Koijam urged the people to cast their votes for the candidates who will bring development to the society and the people. He said that MNDF would try to improve the conditions of the people and bring solutions to their various problems.

‘The Congress and BJP are playing the blame game with one another instead of trying to help the people’, he added.

Bijoy further claimed that MNDF would strive tirelessly towards bridging the gap between the hills and the valley.

‘MDNF behemently opposes the practice of stealing the funds for the underprivileged hill areas.

The party will give extra effort to bring equality and development to the hills’, he added.

Tribal chiefs, ADC Member join BJP

The Sangai Express

Imphal, February 20 2017: Lok Sabha MP and BJP Manipur State Unit in-charge Prahlad Patel, today, warmly welcomed the Nungba A/C village chiefs, village chairmen and 44-Nungba ADC member L Gangte who have joined BJP. Speaking to media persons at the reception ceremony held at Nityaipat Chuthek BJP State Unit conference hall, Prahlad Patel said, ‘BJP will secure a landslide victory in the coming 11th State Assembly election judging by the scores of candidates and members who are joining BJP.

‘BJP will not stay a silent spectator as the State deteriorates under the Congress rule.

BJP will try and bring change to the State and improve the lives of the people,’ he said.

Speaking at the event, L Gangte urged the people to support BJP in order to bring development in the State. BJP State Unit general secretary N Nimbus claimed that the people of Manipur now have tremendous faith in the party due to its contribution and dedication for the welfare of the people. Nungba A/C BJP candidate Adim Pamei and many party workers were also present at the event.

Verbal assurance not enough: AMSU

The Sangai Express
Imphal, February 20 2017: Reacting to Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh’s assurance that the Framework Agreement signed between the Government of India and NSCN-IM on August 3, 2015 does not mention anything about Manipur and it would not affect the territorial integrity of Manipur, the All Manipur Students’ Union (AMSU) has categorically stated that the verbal assurance was not enough.

‘We would like to see and study the Framework Agreement if it contains anything inimical to the interest of Manipur.

We are not looking for any certificates issued by the Union Home Minister or the Prime Minister or any other leader about the Framework Agreement’, conveyed a statement issued by AMSU secretary general Manjit Sarangthem.

There is a vast gap in the understanding of Manipur’s interests between the Government of India and the people of Manipur. Manipuri people realized that they should determine the State’s interests since the day Manipur was reduced to the status of a Part C State from being an independent kingdom. This is one driving factor for the growing demand to divulge the details of the Framework Agreement, AMSU said.

Ibobi will fall like Ravana in Ramayan: Jagadamba Mall

 The Sangai Express

Thoubal, February 20 2017: In a political conference held at Sangaiyumpham Pulleipokpi ground organised by Khangabok BJP Mandal, chief guest of the function Jagadamba Mall slammed Ibobi saying that he could be compared to the wicked Ravana from the Indian epic Ramayan. Like Ram used his might and arrows to kill Ravana, Ibobi will also fall but not with arms but with valuable votes in the Lotus symbol of the BJP, he asserted.

BJP Central Unit observer Jagadamba Mall, BJP candidate Thokchom Jadumani, BJP Thoubal president L Deven, BJP Khangabok Mandal president Tomba Khuman, Sangaiyumpham part 1 Pradhan Md Azad Khan, Khangabok Zilla Parishad former member Kumari Devi, Samaram GP Pradhan Dijen Singh, Khangabok part 1 Pradhan Kh Rajamohon, workers of BJP Thoubal Mandal were present in the function.

Let us strive for unity without politics: NEIDP

 The Sangai Express

Imphal, February 20 2017: North East India Development Party (NEIDP) president Narengbam Samarjit has said that the people of the hills and the valley can bring true unity by taking away politics from the equation. Speaking at the flag hoisting ceremony of Patsoi A/C NEIDP candidate Sapam Kunjakeshor (Keba) at Tera Keithel, Samarjit said, ‘NEIDF was born out of a strong desire to bring the bridge the gap between the hills and valley and to prevent dirty politics from creating a hurdle so as to bring equal development to the region’.

He pointed out that the people play a big role in bringing change to the society adding that they need to elect the right leaders and work towards communal harmony and stability.

‘The time is ripe to correct the wrongs and the divide created by dirty politics’, Samarjit added urging the people to support the party in the coming election.

Many supporters and activists of NEIDP were also present at the event. Standing assurance from Rajnath Politicising Framework Agreement

The Sangai Express, 21 Feb 2017
What exactly is the Framework Agreement signed between the Government of India and the NSCN (IM) back in 2015? Is it just a framework, into which the agreed terms and conditions will be put in or is it something else, elaborating on the finer aspects of the final pact that will be signed between the outfit and New Delhi? All speculations, and while no one knows what exactly is the Framework Agreement, it is has not stopped the Congress to whip the BJP with this pact in the run up to the Assembly election. The election is obviously important to the BJP and the Congress and since the Congress has gone the extra mile to centre its campaign around the Framework Agreement, the BJP needed to do something and remove the suspicion from the people’s mind and this can be seen in the public announcement by Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh that the Framework Agreement will not in any way affect the integrity of Manipur. It is also important to note that the All Manipur Students’ Union (AMSU) has launched a drive to pressure the Centre to spell out the details of the Framework Agreement. The assurance of the Home Minister is noted and should be acknowledged, but it would have helped a lot more if only he had taken the trouble to explain why the Framework Agreement needs to be kept under such a veil of secrecy. A plausible explanation would have really helped the cause of the BJP ahead of the Assembly election.

More than likely that Prime Minister Narenda Modi too will announce something similar when he comes here on February 25. All indications that the BJP is taking the election seriously. And it is the assurance from the top two leaders of the BJP that the State unit of the BJP will take off from and train their guns on the Congress to nullify all attempts to politicise the Framework Agreement. The concern for Manipur and her integrity is understood and appreciated, but politicising the peace process between the NSCN (IM) and the Government of India just ahead of the Assembly election is unwarranted and not at all necessary. It is this which the people should be wary of. When the phrase without territorial limits was inserted in the Bangkok Declaration of June 14, 2001, it was not any political party which came to the forefront to protest the design of the outfit but the people. This is a point which should not blow over the heads of any political party, particularly the Congress. The BJP has made a point with the assurance coming from someone not less than the Union Home Minister himself and the best way to respond to the assurance is not to politicise the issue for electoral gains.

No Kangla meeting for BJP

Imphal Free Press
IMPHAL | Feb 20
The proposed political convention of the BJP inside the premises of Kangla, which is to be addressed by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi this month, has been relocated to a different venue following complaint by PRJA to the election commission.

A release said the convention has been shifted to Langjing Achouba ground, near the CRPF camp. The complaint was lodged by PRJA on February 16 to the election authority, and accordingly the matter was seriously taken up, it said.

Rajnath promises to protect state boundary
Ibobi govt’s ‘political conspiracy’ blamed for prolonging economic blockade

Imphal Free Press
IMPHAL | Feb 19

Union home minister Rajnath Singh today adopted a two-prong strategy to win votes during his whirlwind one day visit to the state to campaign for BJP in the upcoming state assembly elections.

Addressing two election rallies and releasing Manipur BJP vision document Rajnath first assured that Manipur’s territorial integrity will never be disturbed and then went on to charge that the ongoing blockade is a ‘conspiracy’ of the Okram Ibobi Singh government.

In addition to this he promised to fully implement the promises made by the BJP in the vision document.

‘I want to reassure you all that the central government and BJP will never compromise with the territorial integrity of Manipur. In the framework agreement, even the name of Manipur is not mentioned. They should pursue healthy politics,’ Rajnath said after releasing the vision document at Manipur Film Development Society, here.

Reacting to Congress leaders charge that BJP has put the territorial integrity of Manipur under threat the home minister counter-charged that the Congress government is trying to ‘fool’ the people by spreading canards.

‘Why they are spreading lies,’ the union minister asked.

On the ongoing blockade imposed by United Naga Council (UNC) Rajnath charged that the blockade is the result of a ‘conspiracy hatched’ by the Congress government to divert attention from its failures.

‘I think there is a political conspiracy to divert the attention of the people from the failures of the Congress government here towards the blockade. Why the economic blockade continues even after the Centre extended all help to the state,’ he asked.

‘I had told the state to sit for tripartite talks with the UNC and Centre to solve the problem. We have given the state enough central forces, but the state is not using those forces,’ he said.

He said the law and order is a state subject. When the blockade began, he had called up Ibobi Singh several times and told him that the Centre would extend all helps to lift the blockade, Rajnath said.

He further criticised Ibobi government for being ‘unable’ to provide jobs, infrastructure and drinking water despite being in power for 15 years. ‘If we come to power, we will ensure employment generation. BJP and good governance are synonymous,’ he said, adding that intellectuals of the state would also have a say in providing good governance.

The union minister also promised that all the points in the vision document would be implemented. He said after BJP led NDA government came to power at the Centre India has become a nation with the fasted growing economy. Assam finance minister Himanta Biswa and Arunachal Pradesh chief minister Pema Khandu also attended the programme.

While Hemanta said the BJP is committed to implement the promises made in the vision document Khandu said Northeast remained underdeveloped as it has been ruled by the Congress for long. Rajnath also addressed election rallies in Nambol and Thangmeiband constituencies.

The framework agreement contains nothing that will disturbed the territorial integrity of Manipur, said Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh. Meanwhile, speaking during another public meeting at Thangmeiband Athletic Union (THAU) ground today.

‘Any power cannot disturb the territorial integrity of Manipur’ Rajnath said and continued saying that it is very unfortunate that Congress is confusing the public for its political gain.

Rajnath said that elections must be contested with the campaign for good governance and development but not by creating confusion amongst the public. Manipur is filled with natural resources and excellent human resources, Rajnath said that it is the lack of good governance that Manipur is behind other states. With the prolonged economic blockade in the state there have been apprehensions of unable conducting upcoming election. Rajnath said that seeing the enthusiasm of the public for bringing a change, he is sure of conducting free and fair election.

Speaking on the law and order of the state, he said that it is strictly under the state prerogative. Centre cannot intervene directly in the conduct of law and order of a state of any state of India.

Congress is now a sinking political party, Rajanth said that 2014 parliamentary election was a turning point in the history of Indian politics that BJP swept with absolute majority. India could able to peak 8.4 GDP growth during the Prime Minister tenure of Atal Bihari Vajapyee, he said that it was the highest GDP growth that Congress government has failed to achieved.

During the Congress regime North Eastern States were neglected but Atal Bihari Vajpayee has initiated connectivity with the mainland India with creation of DONER. Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh assured for skill development for the youth and easy loan facility for the start up businesses. Campaigning for BJP, Rajnath Singh appealed for co operation from the public in the upcoming election.

Deputy CM charges BJP for economic blockade

Imphal Free Press
IMPHAL | Feb 19

Bishnupur Block Congress Committee, Indian National Congress organised a flag hoisting ceremony for Congress candidate Konthoujam Govindas today at Ningthoukhong, residence of the candidate. Addressing the ceremony Deputy Chief Minister Gaikhangam Gangmei said that in every democratic country every citizen can call bandh, blockade but in a democratic way.

He charged BJP for the continuation of the indefinite blockade as the party support United Naga Council. In order to get the political mileage BJP is allowing the blockade. He said that UNC is sponsored by NSCN (IM) as a frontal organisation and Naga People Front as a political wing. In some Naga inhabit areas BJP is ruling with the help of NPF, this shows that the central government BJP is having good relation with NSCN (IM) as BJP is taking a role of vicious circle.

BJP should stop corruption at first in order to make a corruption free society, Gaikhangam added.

Coalition will only bring change:  M Nara

Imphal Free Press
IMPHAL | Feb 19

Convenor of Left & Democratic Front (LDF) M Nara said, coalition is the need of the hour and it will bring change in governance in the state. He was speaking at the flag hoisting function of National People’s Party (NPP) candidate of Uripok Yumnam Joykumar today at his residence of Uripok Naoremthong Laishram Leikai.

The function was also attended by NPP Manipur state president Thangminlien Kipgen, retired Secretary BOSEM Salam Nabachandra Singh and NPP national general secretary Vivek Raj Wangkhem. Left and Democratic Front were formed by like-minded people to demonstrate that there were possibilities for bringing change, he added.

The existing government lacks vision and a sense of direction, so the people of state are suffering, he said, adding that the coalition government could only bring good governance in the state he appealed to vote for NPP. Further he added good governance must have a time bound vision and it must be executed under a proper framework.

The prevailing situation itself reflects the inconsistencies of the government that has ruled the state for so long,  Nara stressed.

Ibobi promotes drug smuggling: Himanta Biswa

Imphal Free Press
IMPHAL | Feb 19

Assam Finance minister and NEDA’s convener, Himanta Biswa Sarma today alleged Chief Minister O Ibobi of encouraging drug smuggling instead of promoting trade and economy by taking advantage of the state sharing international border with Myanmar.

He stated this while attending flag hoisting ceremony cum political convention of BJP candidate of Konthoujam constituency, Dr Sapam Ranjan Singh, held at Konthoujam Awang Leikai ground, Konthoujam. Campaigning for Ranjan, Himanta charged state Congress led government as one of the most corrupt which has made a large amount of money for their own pockets through various job recruitments.

Congress most secular party: Gaikhangam

Imphal Free Press
IMPHAL | Feb 19

Congress is most secular political party of the nation, claimed State deputy Chief Minister Gaikhangam.

Gaikhangam was speaking during flag hoisting ceremony of Indian National Congress Candidate Md Amin Shah for Kshetrigao constituency today. Flag hoisting was held at residence of Amin Shah located at Kshtri Bengoon Awang Leikai.

He said that since the independence of India, Congress have been working for the co existence of the different communities residing in the nation.

Gaikhangam said that in the absence of Congress communal integrity will not exist in the nation.

Chapter 38

No work charge against Erabot

Imphal Free Press
IMPHAL| Feb 18

Deputy Mayor of Imphal Municipal Council, Meibon Phaomei alleged ex-MLA of Wangkhei constituency and BJP candidate Yumkham Irabot for not taking up any developmental works during 30 years of his tenure. Exposing Irabot’s misconduct of local area development fund during last 15 years in his Ward (no 26) to media persons, the deputy mayor accused the old veteran politician that Irabot had misused huge amount of public fund regarding construction of Namdunlong community hall, drainage, school fencing of Chingmeirong Primary School and so on.

Blockade giving adverse impact on Naga talks

Imphal Free Press
IMPHAL | Feb 18

The economic blockade launched by United Naga Council (UNC) may have adverse impact to the Indo-Naga peace talks, observed former minister and NPF advisor W Morung Makunga. He was speaking in the flag hoisting and campaign kick-off ceremony for Tengnoupal (ST) assembly constituency NPF candidate Kh Armstrong Charang held at Meipou village ground today.

Morung, who is also the star campaigner of NPF inspired the renowned late Naga leader Rungsung Suisa quote ‘To the Naga leaders, aiming to shoot at the dear (India). The hunter being in the thick jungle (thick ethnic groups in north east)’.

He appealed the Naga leaders to focus only on their targets. The creation of new seven districts by the Government of Manipur is trying to divert the Naga political movement, he observed. Both centre and state government did not relish the long suppression of tribal rights under article 371 C, but Government is opposing the ongoing UNC’s blockade. The tribal rights given under article 371 C have been deprived by state Government, he alleged.

Morung claimed that NPF is the only political party in the State to protect tribal land and its rights. NPF have been defending the Naga rights and land since 1963.

No post poll alliance: Bhavananda

Imphal Free Press
IMPHAL | Feb 18

BJP president Ksh Bhabananda Singh has said that the party will form the next government with absolute majority in the state and there is no question of post-poll alliance. He was speaking during the flag hoisting ceremony for Kshetrigao constituency for BJP candidate Nahakpam Indrajit Singh held at Thambalkhong Sabal Leikai residence of the candidate and political convention was held at the Thambalkhong ground today.

BJP state unit president said that chief minister Ibobi Singh is suffering from ‘BJP phobia’.

He said that the misgovernance of Congress from the last 15 years has led the downfall of Congress. He said that BJP wave is becoming stronger in the state day by day. State BJP president mentioned that the BJP wave will sure help in securing maximum assembly seats in the upcoming election.

Bhabananda questioned that what have Congress done in favour of the state in the last 15 years. He expressed that the rumour spread by the Congress of BJP having post poll alliance only shows that Congress surrenders in the election outcome.

18 candidates in fray

Imphal Free Press

Altogether eighteen candidates will be in the fray in the three constituencies of Kangpokpi district as no one withdrew nominations today on the last day of withdrawal. Saikul with 11 contesting candidates remained the highest among the 60 constituencies in the state which create a record in the electoral history of Kangpokpi district.

Yamthong Haokip (INC), C. Doungel (NCP), Doukhomang Khongsai (NEIDP), Paojalet Touthang (BJP), Ch. Ajang (NPP), Thangjamang Haokip (LJP), Letjam Singson (MNDF), M. Thangboi Haokip (NPF), L. Samuel Kom (RPI-A)Kent Raikhan (IND) and Horngam Keishing (AITC) are in the fray for Saikul constituency comprising 54 polling stations with a total electorate of 35,890 out of which 17,631 are male and the remaining 18,259 are female.

In Kangpokpi, Nemcha Kipgen (BJP), Kharga Tamang (IND), Soshim Keishing (NCP) and Athikho Solomon Enah (NPF) will fight for 29,774 electors out of which 14,929 are male and 14,845 are female in 39 polling stations. Saitu will witness Ngamthang Haokip (INC), Haokholet Kipgen (BJP) and Sehpu Haokip (NPF) in the fray for a total of 41,709 electors out of which 20,580 are male and 21,129 are female in 63 polling stations.

Altogether, there are 156 Polling Stations within the three constituencies of the district with total eligible voters of 1, 07,373 out of which 53,140 are male voters and 54,233 are female voters. 36 companies of central paramilitary force along with the district police will be deployed during the election while more than 250 vehicles requisition of which has already begun.

Abolish dirty politics: NEIDP

Imphal Free Press
IMPHAL| Feb 18

North East India Development Party president Narengbam Samarjit today campaigned for party candidate in Saikul constituency, Doukhomang Khongsai. Attending the flag hoisting ceremony of Doukhomang, Samarjit asserted the need to abolish the current political culture which he claimed to be too dirty to survive humanity.

He asked to political leaders in Manipur about their promises for political revolution which the leaders have been assuring.

‘NEIDP is the avatar of those missed out promises with a strong ideology to bring change in all sector of life,’ he reaffirmed.

He further referred that NEIDP has bloomed to disseminate the real sense of democracy to all nook and corner for equal development.

VS Atem clarifies

The Sangai Express
Imphal, February 18 2017: Lt general (retd) of NSCN, Wung Tangkhul region (WTR) VS Atem has clarified that his brother Sword Vashum's decision to fight the upcoming State Assembly election has nothing to with him and that Sword will be held responsible for any consequence.

‘Sword's decision to contest in the election from 45 (ST) Chingai AC on BJP ticket is against the decision of NSCN, WTR which was taken based on the national interest. Sword's decision is a deliberate defiance and challenge to the decision of NSCN, WTR. Therefore, he will be solely responsible for any consequence,’ VS Atem said in a statement.

BJP and Congress can never form a fair Govt: Doungel

The Sangai Express
Imphal, February 18 2017: Chungkhokai Doungel, NCP candidate in Saikul A/C has said that neither Congress nor BJP can form a fair Government and the people need to elect a leader with strong moral principles and beliefs.

Speaking to media persons at a flag hoisting ceremony held at Hoi Inn, Sanjenthong, Doungel said, ‘People need to choose a leader who has strong moral principles and who will do the right thing at the right time. The people need to work together in order to bring good governance in the State’.

He pointed out that there needs to be an understanding between the hills and the valley in order to protect the territorial integrity of the State. C Doungel further appealed to the people to support him in the coming election in order to bring progressive changes and development.

Abolish VIP culture: BJP candidate Somatai Shaiza

The Sangai Express

Ukhrul, February 18 2017: BJP candidate from 44-Ukhrul AC Somatai Shaiza, while addressing at the campaign programme at Mission Ground, Alungtang, urged to abolish VIP culture and said the existing social hierarchy is the root of all evil.

BJP National Council member Soso Shaiza hoisted the saffron party flag in the presence of BJP leaders, workers and supporters at the residence of Somatai Shaiza afterwhich a programme was held at Mission Ground. Footballer turned politician Somatai Shaiza was given a ceremonial blessing by Tangkhul senior Pastor Rev Yangmi Shaiza.

Addressing the gathering, Somatai appealed to vote for BJP in order to bring development. He also spoke on the need to abolish VIP culture and eradicate poverty. He further opined that framing new policies will change the lives of many people. If BJP is given a chance to form the Government in Manipur, there will be development and issues will never remain unresolved, he said.

Cong will retain power: Ngamthang

The Sangai Express

Imphal, February 18 2017: IFC Minister Ngamthang Haokip has claimed that the Congress party will retain power after the 11th Manipur Legislative Assembly election as the Congress Government has been implementing numerous development projects across the State including the hill districts for the past 15 years.

Notably, Ngamthang Haokip is contesting the ensuing election in Saitu AC on Congress ticket and a flag hoisting ceremony was held today at Phainom Cottage, Chassad Avenue under the aegis of Saitu Block Congress Committee. Speaking at the gathering, MPCC president TN Haokip said that Congress is the only political party which is committed to uniform development of both the hills and valley of Manipur.

Apart from safeguarding the integrity of Manipur, Congress party has been implementing numerous development programmes both in the hills and valley of Manipur. Congress is the only political party which belongs to both the hills and valley of the State. Congress party will retain power and the next State Government would take up many more development programmes, TN Haokip exuded.

He then appealed to the people of Saitu AC to re-elect IFC Minister Ngamthang Haokip.

BJP's poll fate hinges on Centre's stand on Nagalim

The Sangai Express / TNN

Imphal, February 18 2017: The BJP, whose biggest enemy in Manipur is Congress, is more worried about NSCN-IM which is bargain-ing with the Centre for getting hold of parts of the former princely state, along with some pockets of Assam, Arunachal Pradesh and even parts of Myanmar, to create a greater homeland for the Nagas.

The question haunting the saffron party now is would this single issue prove to be its Achilles' Heel in its fight to overthrow the Congress Government. So far, the party's state leadership has not dared to step into this contentious issue and is looking forward to an answer from Prime Minister Narendra Modi when he comes to campaign here on February 25.

‘This is a burning topic,’ state BJP president Kshetri-mayum Bhabananda Singh said, adding, ‘We would definitely want him to clarify the Centre's stand on the issue when he addresses the people at the Kangla Fort here’.

Should the Centre accede to NSCN-IM's demand for integration of Naga-inhabited areas of all these states with the present day Naga-land state, Manipur stands to lose eight of its 10 hill districts - Ukhrul, Kamjong, Tamenglong, Noney, Sena-pati, Kangpokpi, Tengnou- pal and Chandel.

NSCN-IM supremo Thuingaleng Muivah, a Tangkhul Naga, is from Somdal village in Ukhrul district. This would also mean that to appease 20% of the Nagas in these eight hill districts, it can compromise with its electoral fortunes by stoking the sentiments of 62% Meiteis, majority of whom are Hindus of the valley. NSCN-IM's proposed Nagalim or Greater Naga-land spreads over approxi- mately 1,20,000 sq km - a huge expansion from the present state of Nagaland that has an area of 16,527 sqkm.

The Nagas claim these areas as their 'rightful' homeland and vow frequently not to let it go to any state, except the dream 'Nagalim'. The saffron party's Naga candidates for the constituencies in the hills have been left in the lurch as far as spelling out the party's stand on territorial integration for greater Nagaland is concerned while campaigning. The party is keeping its fingers crossed and trying to find a 'middle path' for its Naga candidates to convince the people in the hills, a key BJP functionary said.

Till Modi arrives here, these candidates will talk about development issues only.

Indira appointed Cong spokesperson

Imphal Free Press
IMPHAL | Feb 17

BJP spokesperson Indira Oinam, who had left the party over distribution of tickets for upcoming assembly polls was today appointed as the Congress’ spokesperson in Manipur. Indira, who left the BJP recently, today joined the Congress along with her 7,000 supporters at the Congress Bhavan here.

State Congress president T N Haokip formally appointed her as the spokesperson of the party and hoped that her appointment would strengthen the Congress. Welcoming Indira to the party fold, Chief Minister O Ibobi Singh too expressed confidence that her joining would bolster the Congress.

Meanwhile, Indira stated that the ‘manner in which the party tickets were distributed’ was the reason behind her leaving BJP. ‘The Congress’ principle of accepting individuals to the party irrespective of caste and religion’ is another factor why I joined the Congress, Indira said.

No CM candidate for BJP: Javadekar
IMPHAL | Feb 17

It is official, BJP will fight the ensuing Manipur assembly elections without a chief ministerial candidate. This was announced by union HRD minister Prakash Javadekar today in Imphal during a press conference at BJP office in Nityaipat Chuthek. The central minister is also BJP’s in charge of Manipur elections.

He said, the chief ministerial candidate would be decided only after the elections. When reporters queried why Manipur has been made an exception he said, each state has a different strategy. BJP had announced Sarbanda Sonowal as its chief ministerial candidate in the recent Assam assembly elections.

In states like Jharkhand, Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and Haryana BJP did not declare chief ministerial candidates, Javadekar said. Exuding confidence Javadekar said, BJP will be able to win more than 40 seats in the upcoming Manipur assembly elections. He further said, BJP supporters have substantially increased since the 2012 assembly elections as indicated by the number of people showing up in the flag hosting functions of BJP candidates this time.

N Biren flays recruitment

Imphal Free Press
IMPHAL | Feb 17

Recent recruitments by the state government was a big mela where candidates are charged between Rs 30 lacs to 1 crore for a government post, charged BJP candidate for Heingang constituency N Biren. He was speaking during a political convention after the flag hoisting ceremony of BJP Khundrakpam candidate Th Mohendro Singh.

The flag hoisting was held at the Haraorok residence of Th Mohendro of Khundrakpam constituency.

A political convention was later held at Sambei ground of Khundrakpam A/c.

‘BJP and Congress into disintegrating Manipur’

Imphal Free Press

One-day political conference cum flag hoisting program of National Congress Party (NCP) candidate H Kulachandra who will be contesting in the upcoming state assembly election from Thanga constituency was organised today at Thanga Loishang Shumang, Bishnupur. The function was attended by secretary of CPI state Council, M Nara Singh, president of NCP Manipur state, S Iboyaima, secretary of CPI (M), Manipur State Committee, S Sarat and other National leaders.

Speaking at the function, H Kulachandra said that the ruling BJP government in the centre and the Congress in the state are the political party who are trying to disintegrate Manipur and urged the people not to vote for these two parties.

Demonetisation hurt bad state industry: Govindas

Imphal Free Press
IMPHAL | Feb 17

Indian National Congress (INC) is a party that played a big role in bringing freedom from the colonial rule, said Congress candidate for Bishnupur constituency Govindas Konthoujam. He said that if by mistake BJP comes in power in the state, the state will face severe sufferings. Govindas was speaking during a political convention after a flag hoisting ceremony for Congress candidate for Thangmeiband constituency Khumukcham Joykishan Singh today. Flag hoisting and political convention was held at the latter’s residence located at Khoyathong.

Govindas further said that Congress is the only political party that believes in unity, irrespective of caste, creed, colour and religion. BJP government in the centre on the other hand has failed to keep their words, he added.

It's battle between pro-Manipur and anti-Manipur forces: CM

The Sangai Express

Imphal, February 17 2017: Chief Minister Okram Ibobi has categorically stated that the ensuing Manipur State Assembly election is a crucial political battle between BJP which is determined to disintegrate Manipur and Congress which is committed to safeguard the integrity of Manipur at all costs.

He was speaking at the flag hoisting ceremony of Congress candidate in Nambol A/C Nameirakpam Loken held today at his Leimapokpam Mamang Leikai residence under Nambol Block Congress Committee.

Similar flag hoisting ceremonies of Congress candidates in Keirao AC Karam Thamarjit and Keishamthong AC L Ibomcha were also held today at Kyamgei Ideal High School ground and Keishamthong Ahanthem Leikai where the Chief Minister delivered similar speeches. The ensuing election is very crucial as its outcome would determine the future of Manipur, Ibobi stated.

Flatly rejecting BJP's claim that they would form the next State Government, the Chief Minister maintained that people have been asking whether BJP would be able to win even 10 seats. Leave aside like-minded BJP and NSCN-IM, even the most powerful countries would not dare to challenge the integrity and territorial boundary of Manipur when all the people stand united.

Appealing to the people of Manipur to elect N Loken, Ibobi stated that Loken would become a general in the battle against pro-Manipur and anti-Manipur forces. If one should represent the masses, he/she should get elected first. But some BJP leaders have been saying that they would take charge of some particular posts even if they are not elected which is quite disgusting, Ibobi remarked.

The real rulers of a State or country are its people. The MLAs are working on behalf of the people for a term of five years.

‘CM took housing loan’

Imphal Free Press
IMPHAL | Feb 16

According to the affidavit filed by the Chief Minister Okram Ibobi Singh, while submitting his nomination paper to the election authority today, he is slightly richer than his electoral rival, human rights crusader, Irom Sharmila.

* Rs 1,35,000 in hand
* Rs 3,19,614.66 in his SBI Secretariat bank account
*An Ambassador car (2012 model)
* Has a paddy field at Thoubal Nongankhong
* Took housing loan of Rs 3,15,625 from state govt
*Gold of Rs 3,00,000 value


* Has Rs 10,000 in hand
* Has Rs 2,50,000 in her bank account
* Has no vehicle, gold, movable or immovable assets

BJP lauds reopening of Sanjit case by CBI

Imphal Free Press
IMPHAL | Feb 16

The BJP state unit while hailing the fresh opening of Rabina-Sanjit case by the CBI expressed hope that justice will be delivered soon. It also urged the state judiciary to speed up court trials which have been left pending for a long time. State BJP spokesperson Nongthombam Biren speaking during a press meet held at Nityaipat Chuthek office today said that there are many sensitive court cases which need speedy trial.

Drawing attention on the 1528 cases of fake encounter, N Biren appealed to all concerned police stations to submit FIRs and other related documents before the court in time. Referring to the statement made by the chief justice HL Datta and justice Amitava Roy that drug dealers have spoiled an entire generation in rural Punjab, N Biren said that Manipur is having a serious issue in the same regard.

He urged the judiciary for stringent punishment for the drug dealers of the state. He said that it was very unfortunate that the government has abolished Special Investigation Unit (SIU) of Manipur Police. He alleged that SIU official were transferred and later abolished the SIU just after the SIU cracked a drug hauling case from Imphal airport in 2013.

He also appealed for speedy trial on the death of Sapam Robinhood who died during the agitation in regard with the demand of Inner line permit system. Wangkhei constituency BJP candidate Yumkham Erabot Singh, who was also present in the press meet, said that the confession from Havildar Herojit for killing Sanjit with order from his higher authority took a different turn in the case. He said the Herojit’s disclosure led to reopen of the case.

More trouble for Henry

Imphal Free Press
IMPHAL | Feb 16

A construction company based in New Delhi has today reportedly filed a petition against Okram Henry, nephew of Chief Minister Okram Ibobi Singh, with the Chief Judicial Magistrate Imphal West. A highly reliable source said that the petition was filed by the company following breach of agreement made between their company and Okram Henry Singh.

It said in 2013 Okram Henry Singh had allegedly taken a loan of Rs 5 crore for the construction of Kaspar Mall at Mantripukhri. But, Henry reportedly has breached the terms of the agreement, the source added.

CM Ibobi files nomination papers
Congress is confident of winning two-third majority: Ibobi

Imphal Free Press
THOUBAL | Feb 16

Chief Minister Okram Ibobi Singh has filed his nomination papers today as a Congress candidate for Thoubal constituency at DC Thoubal office. Speaking to media persons after filing his nomination papers, Okram Ibobi Singh said the Congress party will get two-third majority in the upcoming assembly elections and Congress government will return to power. He added that the party is confident of winning more than 40 seats.

When asked about the allegations made against his government by BJP and other political parties, the Chief Minister said the allegations are baseless and unfounded.

NPP hopeful of an emphatic win

The Sangai Express

Churachandpur, February 16 2017: The National Peoples' Party leader and Meghalaya's Opposition chief whip James Sangma has stated that his party is hopeful of an emphatic win in the coming polls. He said that the party whose roots can be traced to Meghalaya and which was nurtured by his late father PA Sangma, seemed to be coming back in full force in the State.

With the party's candidates clearing today's scrutiny, he told a joint press conference held at the residence of veteran politician Phungzathang Tonsing that he hopes to witness vigorous campaigning and a subsequent emphatic win for the party. He further stated that NPP has fielded candidates in 21 seats across the State, and is hoping to win in all of them.

He along with Tonsing also denied that the party's manifesto contain anything that is detrimental for the State's tribal community. NPP has in fact not yet officially released its manifesto, he added.

PRJA takes rally case to ECI

The Sangai Express

Imphal, February 16 2017: Peoples Resurgence and Justice Alliance (PRJA) has filed a complaint to the Election Commission of India (ECI) against the BJP's decision to hold Prime Minister Narendra Modi's rally at Kangla Fort on February 25. A press release issued by PRJA today stated that the decision is in complete violation of the guidelines set by the ECI's model code of conduct which prohibits use of religious places, temples etc for election purposes.

According to Erendro Leichombam, the party's convenor, Kangla is a sacred place for the people of Manipur and the Meiteis in particular and to even plan such an election related event inside the historic Kangla Fort is an insult, it added. PRJA declared that the recent plan of the BJP to hold the rally inside Kangla which will be participated by Narendra Modi is in violation of the norms laid down by the ECI and further requested it to look into the matter. The ECI has assured that they will look into the matter and provide a response within 48 hours, it added.

Sharmila appeals on behalf of fiance

The Sangai Express

Imphal, February 16 2017: Irom Sharmila who fasted for over 16 years against the infamous Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) 1958 has appealed to all the people of Manipur to forgive her fiance Desmond Coutinho. Speaking to media persons at Uripok this evening, Sharmila said she has learnt about the abusive and unparliamentary words posted by Desmond on Facebook about all the people who have been supporting her since 2000, PRJA and the people of Manipur.

‘For his waywardness, I apologise to all my supporters and the people of Manipur. I also appeal to all the people to forgive Desmond’, Sharmila said. It is reported that Desmond who is a resident of 2 Abbey Road, County of Galway, Ireland made abusive remarks against many people including former member of Manipur Human Rights Commission Yambem Laba, human rights activist Babloo Loitongbam, PRJA co-convenor Erendro Leichombam and some other Sharmila supporters namely James Mayengbam, Sanjoo Thangjam and Tony Khangembam.

Notably, Irom Sharmila is fighting the State Assembly election against Chief Minister O Ibobi in his home turf at Thoubal Assembly Constituency.

Manipur election 2017: Eight bodies and a ‘stolen’ corpse may dictate outcome

Rahul Karmakar & Sobhapati Samom
Hindustan Times, Churachandpur

Feb 14, 2017
The dead cannot vote. But eight bodies awaiting burial for more than 500 days – and a ‘stolen’ corpse – could play a role in deciding the outcome in some tribal assembly constituencies of Manipur.

Churachandpur and the newly-created Pherzawl districts are dominated by the Kuki-Zomi community comprising at least 15 tribes. Six assembly constituencies straddle these districts, all represented by the Congress until Vungzagin Valte resigned from his Thanlon seat to join the Bharatiya Janata Party on Wednesday.

All the MLAs have been ‘banished’ from their constituencies since August 31, 2015 after Okram Ibobi Singh’s Congress government passed three bills that were viewed as anti-tribal. Violent protests opposing the three bills claimed nine lives, six of them allegedly in police firing, within a week. The violence was concentrated in Churachandpur town, 60 km south of Manipur capital Imphal. It led to an agitation, continuing but with lesser intensity, spearheaded by the Joint Action Committee (JAC) of the tribes.

The district, in mourning, has not heard church bells toll since. People renew wreaths on symbolic coffins outside the Churachandpur district hospital morgue and Lakma memorial ground. Posters and banners featuring the nine ‘martyrs’ are all over the town, though some have the photo of the youngest – 11-year-old Khaizamang Touthang – cut out. The JAC blames the government for using militants to steal Khaizamang’s body and bury it in the town’s Bijang cemetery, close to where his family stays.

The state government says the JAC is trying to keep a ‘dead issue’ alive. ‘The three bills that apparently sparked the fire were buried when President Pranab Mukherjee did not clear them in June (2015),’ home minister Gaikhangam said a few days ago. The three bills were Protection of Manipur People bill, Manipur Land Revenue and Land Reforms (7th Amendment) bill and the Manipur Shops and Establishments (2nd Amendment) Bill. They were passed by the state assembly after non-tribal groups had demanded inner-line permit system to regulate entry of outsiders with 1951 as base year for determining such outsiders.

The tribes, some of whom have relatives across the border in Myanmar, read the bills as an infringement on the identity of the tribal people, their land rights and their economy.

‘Why are we continuing with our agitation despite the bills having been scrapped? Because the government came up a substitute bill (The Manipur Regulation of Non-Local People Act, 2016) in August last year. If adopted and implemented, it will have an effect similar to what the three bills were meant for,’ JAC chief convener H Hmangchinkhup told Hindustan Times.

The issue of the bills and the martyrs will have a bearing on the polls, JAC’s secretary Sang Lethil said. ‘The people will decide keeping them in mind.’

The ruling Congress has sniffed a BJP hand behind the ‘dead body politics’.

‘The boycott of Congress MLAs leaves nothing to imagination. But playing politics over dead bodies will not benefit any party or candidate because it goes against the law of nature and religious ethics,’ said state Congress president TN Haokip, one of the boycotted MLAs representing the Saikot seat.

The Congress, BJP said, is crying foul because it has sensed trouble in the hills. ‘The party is being punished for failing the tribal people, who want change,’ BJP spokesperson S Ranjan Singh, a candidate for the Konthoujam seat, said. A lot is at stake for the two frontline parties. The bulk of Kuki-Zomi people, almost half of Manipur’s 35.1% tribal population (out of 2.57 million), live in Churachandpur and Pherzawl.

Politics, though, is far from the minds of parents who lost their sons 500 days ago. ‘We want a decent burial for our boys but only when the government guarantees the rights to our land and life,’ said 45-year-old Ngaikhanching, whose son Paulianmang was killed at 22.

BJP succumbs to UGs, charges Tongmang

Imphal Free Press
IMPHAL | Feb 14

BJP central leaders succumbed to underground outfits in allotting party tickets for the assembly election, charged retired Indian Revenue Service (IRS) Tongmang Haokip. He was speaking at a press meet held at Jehova Yire complex, Haokip Veng, Imphal today. BJP ticket allotments for the 40 assembly seats in the valley have caused discontentment. On the other hand allotments for 20 tickets for hills are beyond the party guidelines.

Tongmang Haokip, who was denied BJP ticket for Saitu constituency, decided not to contest the election. His supporters including members of Minority Community Forum, Thadou-Kuki Intellectual Forum and other supporters have decided not to support any candidate in Saitu.

He somehow said that Saitu constituency is one of the most backward constituencies of the state. Many political leaders have failed to bring any sign of development in the constituency. He said that he joined BJP on January 14, 2014 and assigned as convenor for Good Governance Cell. He further alleged that he heard BJP leaders collecting about Rs 2.5 crores for a ticket from some nominated BJP candidates. Continuing allegations he said the sanction of some BJP tickets in hills are recommended from underground outfit.

He said he has a ‘WhatsApp’ received document ‘letter of recommendation’ from the United People’s Front (UPF), a Kuki insurgent group under SoO, signed by its Chairman S T Thangboi Kipgen.

Ibomcha rebuts Ram Madhav’s statement

Imphal Free Press
IMPHAL | Feb 14

MLA L Ibomcha Singh, in a press release, has alleged the statement of BJP general secretary, Ram Madhav’s ‘Declaring UNC unlawful is state prerogative’ as misleading the people of Manipur. Stating that it is the prerogatives of the central government and no recommendation of the state government is necessary, the release said under the Section 3 of Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967, no organisation can be declared unlawful or terrorist organisation by the state government.

It further said it is unbecoming of a general secretary of national party to make such irresponsible statement in electronic and print media.

12 hurt in election related scuffle

The Sangai Express

Thoubal, February 14 2017: 12 persons sustained injuries in a scuffle which broke out between supporters of Congress party and BJP at a ground located between Khangabok and Sangaiyumpham today, reports our correspondent.

According to reports culled from the spot, a meeting was to be held for Congress candidate from Khangabok AC O Surajkumar at a ground located between Khangabok and Sangaiyumpham when argument broke out with BJP supporters over conducting the meeting at the said venue.

The argument soon turned ugly as supporters of both Congress party and BJP started attacking one another with stones and sticks.

18 candidate file nomination in Kangpokpi

Imphal Free Press

With the end of nomination this afternoon at 3:00 pm as per the ECI instruction, altogether 18 candidates of different political party filed their nomination papers for the ensuing 11th Manipur assembly election, 2017 from the three constituencies of Kangpokpi district.

A total of 4 candidates including Nemcha Kipgen (BJP), Kharga Tamang (IND), Soshim Keishing (NCP) and Athikho Solomon Enah (NPF) filed nomination in respect of Kangpokpi while Ngamthang Haokip (INC), Haokholet Kipgen (BJP) and Sehpu Haokip (NPF) filed nomination in respect of Saitu.

Interestingly, a total of 11 candidates including Yamthong Haokip (INC), C. Doungel (NCP), Doukhomang Khongsai (NEIDP), Paojalet Touthang (BJP), Ch. Ajang (NPP), Thangjamang Haokip (LJP), Letjam Singson (MNDF), M. Thangboi Haokip (NPF), L. Samuel Kom (RPI-A), Kent Raikhan (IND) and Horngam Keishing (AITC) filed nomination in respect of Saikul.

JCILPS says no to all non-local candidates

The Sangai Express

Imphal, February 14 2017: Even as one non-local man who was given Congress ticket had returned the ticket and opted to fight the 11th Manipur Legislative Assembly election as an independent candidate, the Joint Committee on Inner Line Permit System (JCILPS) has categorically stated that no non-local man should contest elections held in Manipur.

Speaking to media persons at their Sega Road, Konjeng Hazari Leikai office today, JCILPS convenor in-charge BK Moirangcha clarified that they were not asking non-local people not to contest the election on the tickets of National parties, regional parties or local parties. The JCILPS was asking all non-indigenous people who came to the State after 1951 not to contest elections held in Manipur until the issue of ILPS is settled, necessary Bills are passed and converted into Acts.

‘We are aware that many of the Gorkhas and Nepalese settled in Manipur have inseparable relationship with the indigenous people of the State. As for those Nepalese/Gorkhas, JCILPS will extend full support’, BK Moirangcha said.

He then appealed to all the people to identify those Gorkhas/Nepalese who have adopted Manipur as their own motherland from those who came to the State later. However, the documents produced by the particular independent candidate in support of his ancestry are dubious, Moirangcha said.

Poll tempo missing in Manipur

Newmai News/Assam Tribune

IMPHAL, Feb 6 - The usual election tempo is yet to be witnessed in Manipur even as the Assembly polls are just a month away. Several issues prevailing in the State are believed to have caused this slow pace of electioneering. In recent times, the Inner Line Permit (ILP) related issues and the new districts creation issue have tremendously affected normal life in the State.

The State goes to the polls on March 4 and 8.

Meanwhile, major political parties like the Congress and BJP are going to be the key players in the ensuing State Assembly election. A political analyst here has predicted a straight battle between Congress and BJP in the valley.

‘There will be a direct fight between the Congress and BJP in the valley and a triangular contest among Congress, Naga People’s Front (NPF) and BJP in the hills. But the actual battle will take place between NPF and BJP in the Naga-dominated districts,’ he said.

In the Kuki-majority hill districts, he said, there will be a close fight between the Congress and BJP.

With the Congress trying to retain power, the party draws its strength mainly from the valley. The opposition BJP has been making efforts to make inroads into the State. Chief Minister Okram Ibobi Singh has been at the helm of running a Congress Government. He is contesting the polls from Thoubal, a seat he has been holding for three straight terms.

Human rights activist Irom Sharmila is pitted against Ibobi Singh in the polls. Sharmila will contest from Thoubal on the ticket of People’s Resurgence and Justice Alliance (PRJA) which has announced to field its nominees in at least 10 seats.

Hill based organisations are generally critical of the Manipur Government saying it is influenced by the valley based organisations. The sensitive State has witnessed polarisation of its society and polity over different issues. If any party wants to claim power in the House, the Naga-majority constituencies in the hill districts will play a crucial role. Campaigning for the Assembly election had been moving at a slow pace, but now the activity is gradually picking up after the BJP and Congress declared their prospective nominees for the 60 seats.

The second phase of Manipur polls on March 8 will cover 22 Assembly constituencies. A total of 18,07,843 voters are eligible to exercise their franchise in the two-phase election for which 2,794 polling stations will be set up. In the run up to the election, candidates in Manipur generally carry out door-to-door campaigning. Road shows, rallies and meetings are also held as part of the electoral campaigning. Light refreshments are given to all at the end of the campaign.

Cong promises potable water for all, CM takes digs at former Congmen now with BJP

The Sangai Express

Imphal, February 13 2017: The incumbent Congress Government has pledged that it would invest maximum efforts to provide potable water to every household of the State provided it is re-elected in the 11th Manipur Legislative Assembly election.

This was stated by Chief Minister O Ibobi at the flag hoisting ceremony of Congress candidate in Wangkhei AC Okram Henry held at his Mantripukhri residence today.

‘I seldom give commitments. Yet I gave my commitment to reform the power sector. Now people have access to sufficient power supply following reformation in the power sector.

Likewise, Congress party would invest maximum efforts to provide table and potable water to every household within three years in case the party is re-elected to power’, Ibobi assured.

Pointing out that the Centre-State relationship is bound by a federal structure, Ibobi asserted that what is due to the State of Manipur cannot be forfeited or denied by the Centre even though BJP is in power at the Centre. At the time, many development programmes are being implemented with the State's own resources on priority basis.

The State Government spent Rs 200 crore from its own resources in the process of expansion of Imphal airport and highways. The State Government sought the same amount from the Central Government when Prime Minister Narendra came to Imphal to attend the concluding ceremony of Manipur Sangai Festival last year but the State Government's proposal went unheeded.

Regarding the charges made by rival political parties that adequate infrastructure have not been developed for the seven districts created anew, the Chief Minister asked them to go to Jiribam and Kangpokpi and see for themselves. Yet, he admitted that there might be some deficiencies and shortfalls. With a view to promote communal harmony for eternity, the Congress leaders of yesteryears inserted the word 'secularism' when the Constitution of India was drafted.

As such, all the citizens of India irrespective of whether they are Hindus, Muslims or Christians, are equal in the eyes of law, Ibobi asserted.

‘I don't know how far it is true but it is said that BJP is controlled by the RSS which is an umbrella organisation for Hindus only. It is also said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi is handled by the RSS’, Ibobi stated. It is also said that BJP Manipur Pradesh president K Bhabananda was appointed to his present position because he has RSS background.

‘I've been actively engaged in the electoral politics of Manipur for the past 30 years but the name of Bhabananda was never heard in the political circle’, continued the Chief Minister.

Why no potable water supply even after 15 years: Javadekar

The Sangai Express

Imphal, February 13 2017: Accusing the Congress Government in the State of failing to provide basic amenities, mainly potable water to the people during its 15-year long rule, Union HRD Minister Prakash Javadekar asked the Government where have the funds sanctioned for welfare of the people gone.

Javadekar said this while addressing a public meeting at the residence of Th Chaoba, BJP candidate in Nambol Assembly Constituency today. The Union Minister wondered how the Congress Government failed to provide basic amenities for the people despite ruling the State for 15 years.

He said that the Central Government has been taking up development programmes for the people of the State but the Congress Government has failed to help the people which is unfortunate. It is due to the Government's failure that the public is forced to buy potable water incurring huge amount of money, he contended. Javadekar said that hardships endured by the people due to the lack of basic amenities could have been avoided had the Congress Government utilised the Central funds properly.

He assured that the people would get rid of such hardship if BJP forms the next Government in the ensuing State Assembly election.

BJP Govt is a forgone conclusion: Joy

The Sangai Express

Imphal, February 13 2017: The claim that BJP would form the next Government in Manipur after the State Assembly election is indisputable, asserted veteran politician Okram Joy. He was speaking at an election rally held today at Mayang Imphal Higher Secondary School ground under the aegis of BJP Mayang Imphal Mandal in connection with the flag hoisting ceremony of BJP candidate in Mayang Imphal AC Kongkham Robindro.

Congress party has disappeared from other States of India and it would be difficult to find trademark Congress hats in Manipur too after the State Assembly election, Joy said. Many Congress leaders, apprehensive of humiliating defeat, have left the party. BJP would go on to form the next Government and the handful of remaining Congress leaders would not dare stop BJP from storming to power, he said. BJP has no time to talk about small parties.

What matters at the moment is whether Congress or BJP would form the next Government. At the end, it would be BJP which would form the Government, predicted Joy. All the North Eastern States are backward by 60 per cent as compared to other Indian States on account of Congress rule in the North Eastern States for a prolonged period.

16 candidates file papers; Phungzathang launches self in NPP avatar

The Sangai Express
CCpur, February 13 2017: Former Congress leader Phungzathang Tonsing who left the party on Thursday has sought to re-launch himself today under the NPP banner even as he cited 'personal political decision' as the reason for leaving the party he has been associated with for over three decades, and sought another public mandate.

The veteran politician who has held Ministerial berths for over two decades but was dropped unceremoniously last year was diplomatic in his first public speech at his home Constituency since August last.

The three Bills passed in August 2016 by the State Assembly had drawn widespread protest in Churachandpur with his home constituency as the epicentre.

His house was torched along with that of other tribal legislators and faced public boycott but while others have managed to make inroads to their constituencies, Tonsing was particularly isolated as he could manage to publicly address his supporters only today and that too under the NPP umbrella.

Behring quits BJP

The Sangai Express

Imphal, February 13 2017: Senior BJP leader and former MP BD Behring on Monday quit the BJP and joined the People's Democratic Alliance (PDA) reportedly after being denied the party ticket to contest the forthcoming Manipur Assembly polls, reports NNN.

The 63-year-old veteran politician, also a former MLA started his political career from the Janata Dal party. He was elected to the Rajya Sabha in 1990.He was one of the active members of BJP since 2002.

‘The BJP will be inflicted the colossal defeat as in Delhi election in 2015.The party has not chosen probable and sincere candidates for the polls,’ Behring told Newmai News Network.

BJP has fielded SS Olis, a woman candidate, in Chandel Assembly Constituency from where Behring is set to contest on PDA ticket. Behring joined the PDA during a simple function at the party office, Ragailong here.

Tamang to contest as Independent

Imphal Free Press
IMPHAL | Feb 13

Khadga Tamang, who was given Congress ticket for Kangpokpi constituency, has decided to contest as an independent candidate. He along with 94 candidates filed their nomination papers to the respective returning officers today. Tamang’s candidature was opposed by Joint Committee on Inner Line Permit System, a citizen conglomerate.

The joint committee said non-locals should not contest in the election till the inner line permit system is enforced or a similar legislation is enacted. The joint committee also demanded that no political party should field non-locals. He will be contesting from Kangpokpi assembly constituency against BJP candidate Nemcha Kipgen.

The last minute change has left the Congress without any candidate till now and the last date for filing nominations papers is February 16 for the last phase. Kangpokpi will go to polls in the last phase.

Youngest candidate

Imphal Free Press
THOUBAL | Feb 13

Laishram Thanil, 27, son of L Kunjamani of Yairipok Khoirom will be the youngest candidate to contest in the upcoming 11th state legislative assembly election. He will be contesting the election from Wangkhem Assembly constituency with the ticket of National People’s Party (NPP). He is BBA graduate and joined the NPP in the year 2016 and currently the secretary organisation of the party.

Guv urged to stop Cong ‘hooliganism’

Imphal Free Press
IMPHAL | Feb 13

The BJP today sought intervention by the governor Najma Heptulla to ‘hooliganism and criminal activities’ by Congress workers to uphold dignity of Constitution and protect constitutional rights of the people.

‘The present Congress government is misusing the state administration to vitiate the socio-political ambiance of the state where the process of electing the new assembly is going on by supporting the criminal activities of the leaders and workers of Congress under the active direction of chief minister Okram Ibobi Singh and ministers of his cabinet,’ the BJP alleged in a memorandum signed by general secretary N Nimbus today.

A delegation of the BJP led by the party’s Manipur in-charge and MP Prahlad Singh Patel submitted the memorandum to the governor today. A statement signed by Nimbus said the governor assured the delegation that suitable measures will be taken to ensure free and fair election in the state. She also promised to ensure that constitutional right of the people will be protected.

Gaikhangam files papers amidst protests

Imphal Free Press
IMPHAL | Feb 13

Deputy chief minister Gaikhangam today arrived in Tamenglong district headquarters and filed his nomination papers with the Returning Officer amidst protests and shutdown. His effigy was burnt at Tamenglong Bazar as a protest for his ‘anti-Naga’ utterances. Gaikhangam is Congress party’s nominee for the Nungba seat in the newly created Noney district.

A release of the Zeliangrong Baudi, Tamenglong zone said the protest against the deputy Chief Minister for his irresponsible speeches at different occasions which undermine the Nagas. His remark on the ‘framework agreement’ between the government of India and the NSCN (IM) as ‘time bomb’ is an irresponsible remark on the part of the deputy Chief Minister, it said.

Voting awareness concert

Imphal Free Press
IMPHAL | Feb 13

Ballot Jam 2.0 2nd edition will kick-start tomorrow at Range ground, Imphal, a voting rights awareness concert, organised by Youth Street News.

Founder editor of Youth Street News, Mehnaz Rehman said, ‘With the assembly elections coming up, we intend to pass on the knowledge to the youth of the state, that voting is much crucial for the betterment of the society and explain the power of voting.’

She said music is the most powerful medium to reach out to the youth, therefore we have to choose this platform to reach out to them and to make them aware how important to vote responsibly for the betterment of our state. Briefing media persons, she said, we had tried to seek help of the ECI but no response have given back but it was mandatory for us to organise such an event. Thus we are conducting the event on our own, she added.

Maoist lambast Congress govt

Imphal Free Press
IMPHAL | Feb 13

The outlawed Maoist Communist Party of Manipur has termed the recent move of the Congress party to declare UNC as unlawful organisation as a political gimmick to fool the voters taking undue advanage of the upcoming assembly election.

In a release signed by the coordinator of its standing committee, it said it is within the purview of a state government to declare any organisation as unlawful. The present government has not read the Indian Constitution thoroughly while indulging in corruption, it said.

It cited the Indian Criminal Law Amendment Act, 1908, ‘If the State government is of opinion that any association interferes or has for its object interference with the administration of the law or with the maintenance of law and order, or that it constitute a danger to the public peace, the state government may by notification in the official gazette, declare such association to be unlawful’.

Sharmila divulges name of BJP morcha convenor

Imphal Free Press
Sharmila is lying: Ram Madhav

IMPHAL | Feb 13

Reacting sharply to state BJPs intimidation that Irom Sharmila should disclose the individual who allegedly offered her party ticket and a sum of Rs 36 crore or face legal action, Sharmila told media persons at the Thangmeiband Peoples Resurgence and Justice Alliance (PRJA) office today that the individual is one Surbinod who is a ‘morcha convenor’ of the state BJP.

Sharmila said she was not interested in mudslinging, but stood her ground. ‘I am ready to face any legal action, I did not lie,’ she said.

BJP national general secretary, Ram Madhav, in a separate press conference at state BJP head office at Nityaipat Chuthek, denied her allegations and said they have no one in the BJP by that name of Surbinod.

‘Sharmila is lying,’ Madhav said.

A source in the BJP told Imphal Free Press that Surbinod was ‘associated’ with the party earlier and is from Khurkhul area in Imphal West. Sharmila had given an interview to new channel NDTV, in which she alleged that BJP had offered a party ticket and a sum of Rs 36 crore for her election expenses.

This charge was contradicted by general secretary Th Biswajit on behalf of the BJP yesterday. He demanded that Sharmila should come out clean in this regard or she will face legal consequences. Sharmila said she was approached by Surbinod while she was under judicial custody before August 9, 2016. They had a discussion which included Sharmila intimating him of her stance to enter electoral politics.

Defeat Congress and BJP at all cost: D Raja

Imphal Free Press
IMPHAL | Feb 13

Flag hoisting ceremony of LDF common candidate, RK Amusana of Khurai assembly constituency was held today in the presence CPI leader, D Raja and many leaders of the front. Speaking on the occasion, D Raja said Congress is a dynastic party which is run by a single family on their whims and fancies.

He said Mahatma Gandhi in the wake of getting independence of the country from the British had advised to dissolve the Congress for the better. But the then leaders of the Congress paid no heed to the advice and now they are still playing dynastic politics, he said. Raja continued, on the other hand, BJP is a communal party which believes in building a theocratic state wherein only the Hindu community and its supremacy will prevail.

‘Therefore, neither the Congress nor the BJP must be trusted and they must not be allowed to come to power by not voting for them’, he said.

LDF candidate of Khurai, RK Amusana, speaking on the occasion said corruption is the other name of the Congress party. ‘The ruling state government of the Congress has failed to solve the problem of blockade because of their insincerity and corrupt nature’, he said.

Three former police officers in fray in Manipur

The Hindu

Three former IPS officers will be in the fray for the March 4 and 8 polls in Manipur. All three of them, T. Radheshyam, P. Dhanakumar and Y. Joykumar (a former DGP), had applied for BJP ticket after joining the party. However, only Mr. Radheshyam got the BJP ticket, from Heirok constituency. Mr. Dhanakumar from Keishamthong and Mr. Joykumar from Uripok constituencies have joined a local party and will contest as its candidates. Over 30 other politicians had jumped ship after they were denied BJP ticket.

Prakash Javadekar confident BJP will form ministry in Manipur

IANS /Zee News
February 13, 2017

Imphal: Union Human Resource Development Minister Prakash Javadekar on Monday said that he was confident of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) forming the next ministry in Manipur after the state Assembly Elections. He promised the BJP government will send the ‘corrupt elements to prison’.

Javadekar was speaking at a political party meeting at the residence of Thounaojam Chaoba, the convener of the BJP Election Committee at Utlou in Bishnupur district.

‘When the election results are out on March 11, the BJP shall win majority. Once we form the government, all scams, including cash for jobs, shall be looked into and all guilty persons right from the Chief Minister will be sent to prison,’ Chaoba said.

Chaoba said the root case of all the corruption in the state is the Congress. Meanwhile, Okram Surjakumar, son of the Manipur Chief Minister Okram Ibobi Singh, also on Monday formally launched his first-ever election campaign by hoisting the Congress flag in the Kangabok constituency. His mother, Okram Landhoni, a sitting legislator vacated the seat for her son.

‘I am indebted to all of you for the massive support. I have no words to express my gratitude.’ Okram Surjakumar said. Manipur is going to elect a new 60-member Assembly in two phases on March 4 and 8.

Manipur CM O Ibobi Singh is communal, alleges UNC

By Bikash Singh
Economic Times

Feb 12, 2017

GUWAHATI: With Manipur congress legislature party (CLP) writing to Prime minister, Narendra Modi to declare apex body of Nagas living in Manipur, United Naga council (UNC) as unlawful organisation, UNC has termed the CLP under chief minister, O Ibobi Singh as communal. In poll bound Manipur,UNC has clamped economic blockade in two highways since November 1 in protest against the state government's decision to create seven new districts. Manipur is going to polls in March.

Talks between centre, UNC and state government has not yielded much result and on Saturday the CLP resolved,’ To declare the UNC as un-lawful organisation for its illegal, anti-national and anti-people activities by calling indefinite economic blockade along the national highways, banning construction and development activities of national and state projects for several times over several years including the present one which is going on for more than three months’

UNC stated, ‘Land is vital to the identity, culture and traditional practice and values of the Naga people. Every Naga in Manipur is a member through the tribes, villages, clans and families. If the UNC is unlawful so then is the entire Naga population.’
S Milan, General Secretary of UNC said, ‘The 11th February recommendation once again demonstrates that the Congress Legislature Party under the leadership of Ibobi is communal and exclusive in spite of claiming to be running the Government for the entire state.’

Ibobi dares NSCN(IM) to balkanise Manipur

Imphal Free Press
IMPHAL | Feb 12

Chief minister Okram Ibobi Singh today said no super power of the world can break up Manipur, saying people of Manipur will not succumb to diktats.

‘Forget about UNC, forget about NSCN(IM) and forget about the Central government, no super power of the world can disintegrate Manipur’s territorial integrity. The people of Manipur will not act under anyone’s dictate,’ Ibobi Singh said while addressing flag hoisting programme of Congress candidate in Sagolband constitutency, R K Imo Singh at Sagolband Mantri Leikai.

Ibobi said Manipur is like a mini India, where different communities reside. Mistrusts and self centric attitude have led to the current unrest. The chief minister lamented that the organisation, that is responsible for all the unpleasant situations prevailing in the state is supported by BJP. He said that BJP will never achieve its goal. Stating that creation of seven new districts is purely on administrative convenience, Ibobi Singh said it is questionable that why some organisation is against the creation of new districts while majority of the populace are happy with the government’s step.

He said that it was very unfortunate that United Naga Council (UNC) and NSCN-IM are opposing the creation of new districts. Ibobi said that the land belongs to government and it does not belong to any one community.

‘We are fed up with UNC’s claim that Naga settlements are their ancestral land. Manipur belongs to all communities,’ the chief minister said. Deputy chief minister Gaikhangam said that the upcoming election is crucial for the people of Manipur.

LJP second list

Imphal Free Press
IMPHAL | Feb 12

Lok Janswhakti Party (LJP) National general secretary (North East In-charge) Karam Shyam read out its second candidate list at its party office at Babupara yesterday. The second list for LJP candidates are Khundrakpam Bhabeshwor Singh for the assembly constituency of Bishnupur, Thangjamang Haokip for Saikul Assembly constituency, TK Savanai (Veronica) for Karong Assembly constituency, K Dilungheing for Tadubi Assembly constituency and Pou Mathiupuang Gonmei for Nungba Assembly constituency.

Karam Shyam on the occasion said that in the first list of 11 candidates have already been announced and five candidates are enlisted in the second list. He said that LJP will field from 20 Assembly constituencies and third list of candidates will be announced soon.

Bandh free Manipur: NEIDP

Imphal Free Press
IMPHAL| Feb 12

North East India Development Party (NEIDP) spokesperson and party candidate in Patsoi constituency, Sapam Kunjakeshwor alias Keba assured of bandh and blockade free Manipur within two years once party comes to power. He was speaking at a one day political conference in connection with the upcoming 11th state general assembly election at Changangei Uchekon club ground in Patsoi constituency organised by the Changangei and Uchekon development committee.

Decrying Congress for not resolving any of issue on long term basis, he said if Congress comes again in the state number of bandhs and blockades may be able to count in term of years.

Prove it or face legal action: Biswajit
Will name the person if mudslinging persists: Sharmila

Imphal Free Press
IMPHAL | Feb 12

BJP Manipur unit general secretary, Thongam Biswajit has refuted Irom Sharmila’s claim that the party offered her Rs 36 crore for contesting the election against chief minister Okram Ibobi Singh. Biswajit has threatened legal action against Sharmila if she fails to provide proof of her allegation.

‘Who told her (Sharmila) and when? No one offered her any amount from the BJP’s side. We don’t have Rs 36 crore. She must come clean in her allegation otherwise we will take legal action against her,’ Biswajit told media persons at Nityaipat Chuthek saffron office today.

In an interview given to the NDTV, Sharmila had claimed that she was approached by the BJP urging her to be a BJP candidate, promising Rs 36 crore from the centre. Stating that the BJP has the utmost respect for her fast demanding withdrawal of AFSPA from the state, Biswajit said her ‘attack’ seems to be a smear campaign against the BJP and the Congress party must be behind her.

‘The Congress has accumulated huge amounts of money from the recent recruitments. They must have the money,’ Biswajit took a jab against the rival political party. He said the state government’s request to the Centre for announcing the UNC as an outlawed organisation is ‘cheap theatrics’ of the Congress government.

‘The Centre has provided 157 companies of para-military forces to aid the state government in sensitizing the Imphal-Jiribam highway. It is the Congress which is responsible for creating the economic blockade,’ he said. Sharmila told Imphal Free Press that she will not mention the name of the person who came to her urging her to join BJP ranks.

NLC resolves to moderate election

Imphal Free Press
IMPHAL | Feb 12

The Naharol Leishemba Club (NLC), Thangmeiband has unanimously resolved various points in view of the upcoming assembly election in a meeting held today at its office at Thangmeiband Sinam Leikai along with the representatives of political parties. Briefing the media at a press meet held today, NLC president, Pratap Leishangthem said the meeting unanimously resolved all the political parties and thier candidates to use minimum resources and also minimise on using flags and wall posters.

He said the other resolutions included the party not to resort holding vote related grand feast, stop luring voters with money, stop using loud speakers in public meetings and publicity. Pratap further said that prior information should be given to the club if any of the political parties wishes to hold publicity campaign. He further said the political parties should not allocated more than four representatives of the party at the polling station on the day of election and added that the resolutions made in the meeting will come into effect from tomorrow.

Unlawful tag political stunt, says N Biren

IMPHAL| Feb 12

BJP spokesperson N Biren has rubbished Congress party’s latest move seeking ban of United Naga Council (UNC) as a ‘political stunt’. The Congress legislature party had yesterday resolved to urge the Narendra Modi government to declare UNC as an unlawful organisation. He said, the resolution and the letter was just a drama following Centre’s reaction against UNC not to talk again if UNC does not lift the ongoing economic blockade which has already crossed three months.

Biren was speaking in a one day political conference cum welcoming ceremony at Saiton Bazar in Kumbi constituency organised by BJP, Kumbi Mandal today. Party nominee and former minister Ningthoujam Mangi along with other party members and workers felicitated new members who left Congress to join BJP. Biren said, even when he was in Congress he used to point out the wrong policy decisions and actions.

Most of the present Congress MLAs know the misdeeds of the government but kept their mouth shut out of fear, he added. Coming to years long pathetic condition of Imphal-Jiribam raod, he said the road was never been repaired intentionally in conspiracy together by Border Roads Organisation, NSCN (IM) and some Congress leaders so that people could use only Imphal-Dimapur road.

Ibobi silence on status of Congress party
CM Okram Ibobi, Okram Joy among others hoisted flags

Imphal Times

Imphal, February 12 2017: The battle is on now. Congress party strong man Chief Minister Okram Ibobi today hoisted the party flag at his residence at Thoubal Athokpam.

Veteran politician Okram Joy, who is contesting the upcoming election at Langthabal Assembly constituency as BJP candidate also hoisted the party at his residence at Kakwa. Chief Minister Okram Ibobi is contesting the election from Thoubal Assembly Constituency this time too.

Three other candidates Irom Chanu Sharmila of PRJA, Leitangthem Basanta of BJP and Leishangthem Suresh of the All India Trinamool Congress Party are likely to be the main contenders of the Chief Minister. The Chief Minister hoisted the flag at 8.45 am sharp.

His wife O Landhoni, former MLA of Khangabok Assembly accompanied her husband during the flag hoisting ceremony. No other MLAs or Ministers and MPCC officer bearers were seen attending the flag hoisting ceremony.

BJP and Congress likely to have straight fight in Singjamei AC

Imphal Times
Imphal, February 12 2017: A day after BJP ticket seeker Oinam Romen of Singjamei Assembly Constituency had announced his decision to support the BJP candidate after he was denied party ticket, another BJP ticket seeker, who had lately joined NPP, Nangbam Robert today said that he too will not contest the election this time clearing the way for both Congress candidate I Hemochandra and BJP Candidate Yumnam Khemchand to have a straight fight in the constituency.

Ngangbam Robert was listed among the list of NPP candidates who had been approved for contesting the election. All of a sudden he announced that he will not contest the upcoming assembly poll.

‘I took the decision not to contest this time after consultation with my supporters of the constituency’, said Robert. He however did not say anything on whom he will support in this election.

BJP gears up campaign at Khangabok

Imphal Times
Imphal, February 12 2017: BJP candidate of Khangabok Assembly Election, Th.Jadumani today said that BJP is gaining more support from the people of Khangabok Assembly constituency after the joining of former minister L Jatra's workers to the party.

The BJP candidate organized a reception function of the 118 workers of former minister L Jatra at Samaram. Speaking on the occasion Th.Jadumani said that the Congress party is spreading rumours about joining of the 118 supporters of L Jatra but in reality the workers have joined the BJP. O Landhoni, wife of Chief Minister Okram Ibobi is the MLA of Khangabok Assembly constituency.

This time her son O Surajkumar is contesting as a Congress candidate from the constituency.

Shifting poll equations

Imphal Free Press editorial
13 Feb 2017

As the elections get closer, the question as to which party is at the top is getting more curious. One thing is certain. The two top contenders to power are the incumbent Congress and challenger, BJP. The electoral equation were shaping up on expected lines three and a half months ago on November 1, at the start of the blockade on Manipur’s two lifelines by the United Naga Council began, first in anticipation that the northern foothills then known as the SADAR region and the tiny foothills non-tribal enclave of Jiribam, would be given district status conceding to a long standing demand, and then the government’s defiant decision to create seven new districts instead. The calculations were, the Congress would consolidate its sympathies among those who still vouched for the idea of Manipur, its imperfections notwithstanding, for it is well known that the UNC had always been advocating dismemberment of Manipur. Such an equation would have guaranteed the Congress remained on top, and if the election had been held immediately in the wake of the blockade, the party probably would have snatched a convincing victory. But as in all electoral equations, especially amidst a volatile situation as in Manipur today, emotions shift, and radically too. Now, what piques the people increasingly is the inability of this government to get the blockade ended, or removed if necessary. The government may have genuine technical hurdles or concerns about likely casualties in case of a head on confrontation, but these considerations are too abstract for crowd psychology. To the masses, after a point, only results matter.

The BJP is the major challenger, but the party which never has had any tangible base in the state, is more or less a mirror image of the ruling Congress. Indeed, most of its prominent leaders are either recent defectors from the Congress or else had been at some point ‘faithful’ Congressmen, servilely swallowing the whims of the party’s central command. It will be going to the election on the reflected halo of the party’s clout as the ruling party at the Centre, which incidentally matters to the crowd psychology of small, weak and dependent states like Manipur. Not surprisingly, the campaign planks of both these parties are virtually the same, both throwing the counter charges of mishandling the UNC blockade at each other – that is, the state BJP blaming the Congress, and the Congress blaming the Central BJP government for not prevailing upon the UNC and NSCN(IM) to have the blockade lifted without the use of force. A crisis the state is faced with has unscrupulously and shamelessly been reduced to an electioneering handle by both.

But there is another advantage the BJP has. This has to do with the usual incumbency factors of the Congress which has been in power for three full terms now, under the same chief minister, Okram Ibobi, thanks largely to the anti-defection law, but also it must be admitted, to the political acumen of the man. However, his government is plagued with the damaging image of being extremely corrupt and of institutionalising corruption. This has literally destroyed the idea of meritocracy from the society. Those who do well in this political environment are power and contract brokers, sounding in the process the death knell of hope that reward, both material and status, awaits hard work and industry. No harm inflicted on our society can be as grievous and long term as this. But the scepticism is, its rivals the BJP, constituting of people who defected from it, can do no better? Preferably, the conscientious would have avoided both, but the alternates are too weak. Of them, Irom Sharmila’s five months old People Resurgence and Justice Alliance, PRJA, probably would could been the natural choice, given their untainted image and the freshness of outlook. But this party is fielding only five candidates this time, and therefore even if they all five win, it would still not be able to make much of a difference in the Assembly power structure. People can only wish they will stay even if they lose this time and be back in greater force the next time.

The current electoral equation can still take more radical turns. The continuance or end of the blockade can be one of the factors. The other is, since adverse effects of incumbency is going to be a dead weight around the neck of the Congress, the Congress itself could choose to be proactive to shed itself of this albatross. For instance, if Ibobi were to announce tomorrow that he would step back and concentrate on strengthening his party, handing over the rein to his second in command, at this moment, Gaikhangam, to lead the charge, and thus allow the party’s second rung leaders to come to the fore, new energy could be infused to the party’s campaign. Similarly, the BJP too seems to be seriously thinking of overcoming its image as leaderless. The reason it has roped in former chief minister, the non-controversial, liberal and intellectual Radhabinod Koijam, seems to be precisely in view of such an image makeover. But, all this may amount to reading too much between the lines.