Chapter 35

PRJA to conduct mass rally

Imphal Free Press
IMPHAL | Feb 4

The Peoples Resurgence and Justice Alliance (PRJA) continue to expand the solidarity to redefine politics in an open session with the youth today at Flavours Restaurant at Thangmeiband Imphal. During the open session PRJA convenor Erendro Leichomba confirmed that the party’s election symbol ‘Whistle’ has been approved by the Election Commission of India.

Erendro said that a justice rally of organic movement will be organised on February 19 by PRJA and blowing of whistle will be a part of the rally. The whistle is the wake up call for the youth of the state to take things in their own hands to transform our reality, he said. He said that PRJA has appealed all the people of the state to take part in the rally and also to bring placards accordingly to their own ideas.

‘Action by youth will change Manipur. Nothing else!’ said Erendro. He further urged the youth to come forward and participate in the development of the state.

First round of ‘tripartite talk’ positive: Suresh Babu

Imphal Free Press
IMPHAL | Feb 4

Additional Chief Secretary (Home) of the state government, Dr Suresh Babu expressed hope that the ongoing economic blockade imposed by the United Naga Council (UNC) would be lifted soon. Representatives of the state government headed by Dr Suresh Babu on Saturday returned to Imphal along with UNC president Gaidon Kamei after attending a ‘tripartite talk’ involving the Centre in New Delhi yesterday.

The first round of meeting between the Centre, the state government and the UNC ended on a ‘positive note’, according to Dr Suresh Babu. ‘We hope that the blockade will end in the next few days’ time,’ he said while informing that there will be a ‘meeting’ on February 7.

Responding to media queries, he said the issue on creation of districts was raised by the UNC side during the meeting but ‘we told them that the issue should be deferred for the time being.’

NK charges RSS of collecting money

Imphal Free Press
IMPHAL | Feb 4

Former active BJP member from Andro constituency Keisham Ningthemjao Singh commonly known as NK Singh has alleged RSS, the apex body of BJP of collecting Rs 10 Lacs from him for the party ticket for the ensuing election.

He was speaking during his reception programme for his joining into Manipur National Democratic Front (MNDF) today. He said that though he was given assurance and paid money but ticket for the upcoming election was given to another. The Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi though sticks to the fine tuned rules and regulations but some of the BJP leaders are corrupt, he alleged.

He also said that the Congress contestant from Andro constituency is also connected with criminal activities and has been in judicial custody for his criminal activities. He said he is hopeful that regional political party will emerge for the development of the society in the larger interest of the state.

22 BJP workers, 1 JDU join Congress

Imphal Free Press
IMPHAL | Feb 4

Manipur Pradesh Congress Committee (MPCC) has approved the joining of former Janata Dal United candidate of Imphal Municipal Corporation of Sagolband constituency RK Ibungosana Singh. His reception was held at MLA RK Imo Singh’s residence at Sagolband here today.

During the reception function 22 other BJP workers from Sagolband constituency also formally joined the Congress. RK Ibungosana during his reception stated that he has complete faith in the Congress party. He said the guidance of Congress leaders are worth following in bringing development in the society. In the future too he will remain a Congress man, he added.

RK Imo Singh on the joining of RK Ibungosana and 22 others said that the reception has been done with the consent of MPCC and Sagolband Block Congress Committee. He lauded that their joining into Congress will sure strengthen the party.

More join MNDF

The Sangai Express

Imphal, February 04 2017: Keisham Ningthemjao who sought BJP ticket in Andro AC and Ningthoujam Itomba who was also seeking BJP ticket in Keirao AC have joined MNDF and they were accorded a warm reception at the party’s Babupara office today.

Both of them will fight the forthcoming State Assembly election in their respective constituencies on MNDF tickets. Speaking at the gathering, MNDF senior vice-president Bijoy Koijam said that MNDF would field 20 candidates in the 11th State Assembly election.

On account of their discriminatory attitude in allotting party tickets, BJP has started collapsing under its own weight in Manipur, Bijoy Koijam remarked. BJP has a very slim chance of forming Government in the State. He went on to exude confidence that MNDF would take a key role in forming the next State Govt in association with the party which emerges as the single largest party.

Campaign for AK Mirabai kicks off

The Sangai Express

Imphal, February 04 2017: Patsoi Kendra Congress candidate AK Mirabai has stared her election campaign today. Speaking at the campaign initiating function, AK Mirabai said, ‘The Congress party will hold power again with the love and blessing of the people.

No other party will be able to from the Government. She claimed that the Congress party has been protecting the territorial integrity of the State which would be an impossible task for any other political parties.

‘The people can easily see that BJP is in cahoots with the UNC and the NSCN (IM)’, she said. AK Mirabai urged the people to extend their support and cooperation to the Congress in order to defeat BJP in the coming election. She said that the Congress party has been able to bring development and progress to Patsoi Kendra because of the people’s trust and support.

Congress workers of Keishmathong protest

Imphal Times

Imphal, February 04 2017: Congress workers of Keishamthong Assembly Constituency yesterday protested the denial of Congress Party ticket for the coming assembly election to former Minister L Jayentakumar of the Keishamthong Constituency. Last night Congress workers of the constituency abolished the Congress ward development committee in connection with the protest of the ticket denial.

Speaking to the media persons, O Ibotomba, member of the congress committee said that Congress workers strongly condemn the denial of the party ticket to L Jayentakumar. The present supporters for L Jayentakumar will remain as it I weather Jayentakumar stands for any party as the voters and supporters stands only for him not for Congress party or any other party, he added. Ibotomba also said that congress will not be able to open any account in the Keishamthong Constituency for the denial of ticket to L Jayentakumkar.

It was a plot to deny ticket to Jayentakumar, he added. Congress workers under the ward development committee have resigned from the congress. The development committee of the constituency is open at 12/30, 12/31 and 12/32 polling station in Kwakeithel Moirang Purel leikai.

PRJA conducts public meeting

Imphal Times

Imphal, February 04 2017: Under the leadership of Co-Convenor Irom Chanu Sharmila of People Resurgence and Justice Alliance (PRJA), conducted a public meeting at Thoubal Moijing yesterday. During the public meeting Sharmila said that PRJA wants the participation of women in the politics.

Later the meeting, Sharmila visited Meena Bazar of Thoubal Moijing where she met a large number of womenfolk of the locality. Sharmila will contest the coming assembly election in Thoubal Constituency against present Chief Minister of Manipur Okram Ibobi.

Joykishan continues to assail BJP

Imphal Free Press
IMPHAL | Feb 3

Manipur Pradesh Congress Committee (MPCC) spokesperson Kh Joykishan Singh accused a leader of the BJP Manipur Pradesh of involving in collecting huge amount of money for contract work worth Rs 60 crores. He was speaking at a press meeting held at Congress Bhavan conference hall today.

Without naming he alleged that a BJP leader has collected a sum of Rs 6.37 crores from BJP workers in the name of bank guarantee amount for project works worth 60 crores. The BJP leader lured party workers for the contract work for Canchipur to Lilong road widening and black topping project work for Sekmai to Mao road and collected the amount from them.

Joykishan said when found his fishy attitude the BJP leader was asked about the money. Bank guarantee amount which was said to have been deposited at Manipur Rural Bank was found to be fake. He said that the said amount was invested in gold business. Joykisan said that if necessary he will produce the document supporting his allegations and will produce before the media when time comes.

He further charged that BJP Manipur Pradesh lacks proper rules and regulations. He said that the admission of AR Khan to BJP was his credit otherwise BJP Manipur Pradesh has failed to accumulate Muslim community. Speaking further on MPCC members that have joined BJP, he said that many have requested to return back and rejoin MPCC. He said that state chief minister O Ibobi has turned down their requests saying that Congress is not a Dharamsala.

Clarifying on BJP charged that Congress government has not done anything in last 15 years of rule he cited lifting of Armed Forces Special Power Act 1956 from seven assembly constituencies within Imphal Municipal limit is a major achievement of the Congress government.

ECI allots printer and drop box

Imphal Free Press
IMPHAL | Feb 3

The Election Commission of India has specified 19 assembly constituencies of Manipur in which a printer with a drop box shall be attached to every voting machine to be used for the giving and recording of votes in the ensuing election. A release said the constituencies are Thangmeiband, Uripok, Sagolband, Keishamthong, Singjamei, Sekmai, Konthouiam, Patsoi, Langthabal, Naoriya Pakhanglakpa, Mayanq lmphal, Khurai, Khetrigao, Thongju, Yaiskul, Wangkhei, Bishnupur, Nambol and Thoubal.

Poll broadcast: Lottery for reservation for broadcasting time slot for different political parties for the ensuing assembly election was held today at the conference hall of Old Secretariat, South Block.

An official release said the lottery was conducted under the supervision of chief electoral officer VK Dewangan. It was attended by state nodal officer, representatives from DDK Imphal, AIR Imphal and representatives from eight recognised political parties.

On the other hand, representative of Bahujan Samaj Party skipped the lottery, it added.

It continued the broadcast timing for DDK Imphal starts from February 16 and ends on March 1 from 4.30 pm to 6 pm daily (excluding Sundays). The broadcast timing for AIR Imphal starts and ends at the same dates between 6.40 am till 7.30 am and 6.25 pm to 7.25 pm daily (excluding Sundays), it said.

The release further said Indian National Congress has been allotted 254 minutes each broadcast time in DDK Imphal and AIR Imphal, All India Trinamool Congress (AITC) has been allotted 129 minutes each broadcast time in DDK Imphal and AIR Imphal, Naga People’s Front (NPF) has been allotted 82 minutes each broadcast time in DDK Imphal and AIR Imphal.

Alongside  Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) has been allotted 81 minutes each broadcast time in DDK Imphal and AIR Imphal, Communist Party of India (CPI) has been allotted 74 minutess each broadcast time in DDK Imphal and AIR Imphal, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has been allotted 55 minutes each broadcast time in DDK Imphal and AIR Imphal. Meanwhile Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP), Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) and Peoples Democratic Alliance (PDA) have been allotted 45 minutes each broadcast time in DDK Imphal and AIR Imphal, it said.

The time slot has been allotted according to the performance of the political parties in last general election, it added.

RPI office in Imphal

Imphal Free Press
IMPHAL | Feb 2

Republican Party of India (A), a national political party opened its state unit office at Sangakpham today. Briefing reporters National general secretary Mohanlal Patil after formal inauguration of the State unit office said that Republican Party of India (A) is a national political party. He said that it was first formed in the Scheduled Castes Federation led by Dr BR Ambedkar. Later in 1956 it served an entry point in forming to the Republican Party of India.

Mohanlal Patil further said that the party will work towards to uplift discriminated and marginalised section of society. He said that the party having its head office at Maharashtra has expanded in the 31 states of the country under the leadership of its national president Ramdas Athwale who is also the Union Minister of Social Justice and Empowerment.

Addl Chief Secy, Commissioner, UNC leaders leave for Delhi

The Sangai Express

Imphal, February 02 2017: With the stage all set for a tripartite meeting among the United Naga Council (UNC), the Government of Manipur and the Government of India, Additional Chief Secretary (Home) Dr Suresh Babu who would be leading the State Government’s delegation has categorically stated that they would explore all avenues to bring a temporary solution to the protracted economic blockade in view of the forthcoming State Assembly election.

Additional Chief Secretary (Home) Dr Suresh Babu, Commissioner (IPR & Works) K Radhakumar, UNC president Gaidon Kamei and information secretary Sangkhel Stephen left Imphal for New Delhi today in the same flight for the tripartite talk scheduled tomorrow.

Report sent to Commission

The Sangai Express

Imphal, February 02 2017: The Chief Electoral Officer has sent the report regarding the case of Chief Minister Okram Ibobi listing the State Government’s achievements at the Statehood Day event, to the Election Commission of India (ECI) today. The recent developments have come following the complaint filed by the BJP to the ECI alleging that the Chief Minister broke the model code of conduct by listing the Government’s achievement on Statehood day.

According to a source, the CEO sent the report to the ECI after gathering reports from both the Home Department and DIPR regarding the event. The ECI has also directed the Chief Secretary to send a report regarding mass recruitment in some Government departments before the election date was announced, it added.

No political advertisements in print media on Feb 3, 4: EC

The Sangai Express

New Delhi, February 02 2017: The Election Commission of India on Thursday directed that no political party, candidate, organisation or any person will publish any advertisement in print media on 3 and 4 February unless contents of the advertisement proposed to be published have been pre-certified by the political parties and candidates from the Media Certification and Monitoring Committee (MCMC).

This came after many instances of advertisements of offending and misleading nature have been brought to the Election Commission’s notice in the past. A similar direction has been issued to all the newspapers in Goa and Punjab asking them not to publish any advertisement in the print media on the same dates which has not been pre-certified by the said MCMC.

The Commission further said that in order to facilitate the process of pre-certification of the newspaper advertisements and as instructed above, MCMC at State/district level be immediately alerted and activated in order to examine and pre-certified all such advertisements received from the political parties, candidates and others.

‘It should also be ensured that the decision by MCMC in such cases is made expeditiously.

The above direction of the Commission be brought to the notice of all president of the political parties, contesting candidates and news papers in the State of Goa and Punjab and also be given wide publicity to all media of mass communication for general information and strict compliance,’ the Commission said.

MLA Biswajit takes a dig at Cong

The Sangai Express

Imphal, February 02 2017: Ahead of the much-speculated11th State Legislative Assembly election to be held in March, BJP MLA Th Biswajit asked the people to be aware of the mass recruitment of government jobs by the ruling Congress Government, which according to him was done looking after the coming election.

He was addressing a one-day political conference cum incoming ceremony organised by BJP Kumbi Mandal at Borayangbi Thongkha today. Th Biswajit who is also the general secretary (administration) of BJP State unit said that the recent mass recruitment of government jobs was well orchestrated by the Congress Government in view of the coming election.

He claimed that as the recruitment of government jobs was done without the consent of Finance Department, salary of the jobs will not be availed till the month of April.

The government jobs will be reviewed if BJP forms the next Government, he declared.

Saying that there will be widespread protests including formation of JAC by the successful candidates of the government jobs after they fail to get their salary, Biswajit reiterated that BJP had complained to Election Commission of India (ECI) about the ‘unwarranted’ achievements of the Congress Government made by the Chief Minister during the recent Statehood Day function.

The claim made by the CM came after the imposition of election code of conduct. He assured that BJP will take up steps to disqualify the CM even if the latter wins the election.

Pol parties divided over poll dates

Imphal Free Press
IMPHAL | Feb 2

Opinions of political parties are divided on holding the Assembly election as per schedule with two contending parties - Congress and BJP showing interest to hold the election as per schedule while some others want it postponed. The Election Commission India (ECI) is concerned over the prevailing blockade situation in Manipur. The home ministry also wrote to the ECI expressing its concern over the failure of the state government to lift the blockade.

Manipur Democratic Front president G Tonsana Sharma wrote to the Prime Minister to defer the election as the situation is not conducive for elections. Talking to the Imphal Free Press, Manipur PCC (MPCC) spokesperson Kh Joykishan Singh said his party wants to hold the election as per schedule fixed by the ECI. He said that deferring the election will deny the rights of the people. Similarly BJP spokesperson Nongthombam Biren Singh also said BJP wants the election to be held as per the schedule.

Stop blame game, end blockade: Bijoy Koijam

Imphal Free Press
IMPHAL | Feb 2

Manipur National Democratic Front (MNDF), a constituent of Left and Democratic Front will explore possibilities to field candidates in all sixty seats in the ensuing assembly election along with the other parties, said senior vice president Bijoy Koijam.

The Left and Democratic Front consist of MNDF, JDU, CPI, CPI-M, NCP and AAP. Bijoy Koijam was speaking in a press meet held at the MNDF office located at Babupara, yesterday. He was speaking during the party’s women member expansion.

Taking jibes on the blame game being played by Congress and the BJP on the prolonged economic blockade, he said these parties are taking political mileage rather than bringing an amicable solution.

He also appealed the United Naga Council to put to an end to this economic blockade considering the sufferings of the common people. It is high time the state government should think about bringing the blockade to an end, and if not it should not hesitate to use central forces along the national highways, he said.

He also pointed out that with the coming of the Act East Policy, the Imphal – Moreh highway has assumed greater significance in terms of connectivity and international trade. He charged that the 11 Assam Rifles has been harassing commuters in the said highway in the name of security check. Over and above there are also lots of unauthenticated check posts along the highway.

Election clash in Kshetrigao

Imphal Free Press

A clash between the muslims of Kshetrigao Awang Leikai and the state police force took place today at around 2.30 pm where exchange of stones and tear gas shells took place for around one and half hour.

According to the protesters the clash occurred when the state police force tried to arrest the 38 JAC members who were against the killing of Md Naosat on April 2, 2015. They said that the police charged the JAC members that they had attempted to burnt down houses of Md Azmir @ Ezey (who is a suspect in Md Naosat killing case) on September of last year.

The angry mobs blocked the Kshetrigao road and stop the police force from entering their village as well as other vehicles. As the police force tried to enter their village the mob threw stones to stop the police and in return the police fired around 20 to 25 rounds of tear gas shells, but the police force were unable to enter their village.

One of the protestor Kabir Khan said that on 22 January members of Yumkaibam Athletics Development Association (YADA) have conducted a drug drive, where the association has seized a car carrying drugs. YADA asst secretary Md Jafar Ali and advisor Md Amar went to Porompat Police Station to hand over the seized car, during which the police has arrested the two leaders, said Kabir.

Pre-poll clashes in Thoubal district

Imphal Free Press

Pre-poll clashes broke out today in Wangkhem and Heirok Assembly constituencies of Thoubal district. Sources said the first incident took place in Wangkhem Assembly constituency at around 9.30 am when workers of a candidate of Wangkhem constituency interrupted the flag hoisting function held at the residence of one Congress worker Yumnam Umakanta at Kiyam Siphai, Thoubal.

Police brought the situation under control by firing tear gas shells. No one was injured. Another clash reportedly took place at Lourembam village in Heirok constituency. The clash broke out at around 3.30 pm when workers of Manipur Peoples’ Party tried to organise camera meeting in Heirok. Police controlled the mob by firing tear gas shells.

DEO conducts poll related meetings

Imphal Free Press

The DEO Imphal West organised a training cum discussion session today at 11.00 am at Kombirei Hall, DC office complex for all the returning officers and assistant returning officers of Imphal West District.

A release said the session was conducted for creating awareness specifically on issues of nomination and its related complications in connection with the forthcoming Assembly Election on March 4.

Under Secretary, Education, Tanushree Naorem was the resource person. She covered various aspects including rules of filing nomination in her presentation, continued the release, adding that a meeting was also convened at the DC office chamber at 1 pm afternoon discussing issues on holding of regular daily meetings, importance of election-related trainings, transport problems etc.

Pushing Jyotin out from the Congress Backing better prospects

The Sangai Express editorial, 3 Feb 2017

Let it be clear. It was not Jyotin Waikhom who chose to leave the Congress, but the party which literally sealed the door on him in admitting Kh Joykisan into the Congress sometime back. The same is the case with Sagolshem Achouba, the man who has been contesting from Wangoi Assembly Constituency as a Congress candidate in the past elections. Here the script runs the same with Achouba quitting the Congress, after the party admitted sitting MLA O Lukhoi. Backing the man with the better prospect of winning and in the process give a kick to sensibilities like party loyalty. A clear reflection that the Congress this time does not want to take chances and will back only the man with the best chance of riding home in the election. Herein lies the merit of the BJP. It is more than an indication that the Congress this time has acknowledged the serious threat the BJP poses in the coming election and if not for anything else, then this should at least give some comfort to the BJP. It is also more than clear that Jyotin Waikhom does not really believe that the Congress will return to power or else a veteran Congressman like him could have bargained for a plum appointment in many of the corporations which function under the Government. That he instead chose to join the BJP and contest the upcoming election as a BJP candidate is a clear message that not many believe that the Congress will return to power.

Jyotin Waikhom is obviously not new to the politics of election. Long before he joined the fray he was closely associated with former Chief Minister Radhabinod Koijam and it was only in 2007 that he set to out contest the polls as a Congress candidate after Radhabinod Koijam had left the party. Thrice he has contested the election and each time he has come second, underlining the point that in election there is no podium finish for the second best. The last straw for the Congress was perhaps his defeat to Joykisan in the by election held in 2015. Joykisan then contested the by election as a BJP candidate and remained a BJP MLA till the minute he decided to switch side to the Congress after the seven new districts were created. The by election was literally Joykisan versus the State Government with the Chief Minister himself and the Deputy Chief Minister campaigning for the then Congress candidate, Jyotin Waikhom. That he was defeated in the by election was something like a defeat for the State Government too. This and the earlier defeats in 2007 and 2012 must have certainly given new thoughts to the leadership and hence the decision of the Congress to admit Joykisan to the party’s fold. Apart from the BJP wave, Jyotin Waikhom will certainly be playing the emotion card to woo the voters this time.

Cong banking on NSCN bashing: BJP

Imphal Free Press
IMPHAL | Jan 29

In the run-up to 2017 assembly elections, the lone agenda of Congress party has become NSCN (IM) bashing to garner votes while pushing under the carpet its misdeeds and lack of governance, according to BJP general secretary and MLA Thongam Bishwajit. Biswajit was speaking at a one day district level political conference held today at Keishamthong Ahanthem Leikai ground, Imphal. He said, if the Congress party is good in governance then he is ready to join them.

Reiterating BJP’s stance on the economic blockade he said that law and order is purely a state subject and the BJP government at the Centre is extending all possible support by sanctioning extra companies of forces to help the state government for ensuring smooth flow of traffic on the highways. He further questioned the timing and motive of announcement of new seven districts in the state by Okram Ibobi government.

He said, in the name of administrative convenience Congress is trying to gain political mileage. Biswajit Singh defended BJP’s stand on the territorial integrity of the state as he recalled BJP National President Amit Shah’s statement that even an inch of state territorial integrity will not be compromised. BJP spokesperson Nongthombam Biren said that the public must consider the background of the candidates and cast their votes accordingly.

He said, the ensuing 2017 elections would be a defining election and the people fails to bring change through this election Manipur’s future is bleak.

Payback time: Sapam Keba tells BJP leaders

Imphal Free Press
IMPHAL | Jan 29

Former BJP state executive member Sapam Kunjakeswor (Keba) today asked central BJP leaders to repay the expenditure incurred by him during the 2014 Narendra Modi visit and for renovation of state BJP office at Nityaipat Chithek. The former BJP member disclosed his expenses during a press meet at his residence at Sagolband Tera Sapam Leirak today.

Sapam Keba said that during the 2014 rally of Narendra Modi in Imphal before parliamentary elections he invested Rs 44.70 lakhs from his own fund. Again, during the construction of BJP office at Nityaipat Chithek he donated Rs 14.79 lakhs. Former MLA Sapam Keba had left BJP after he was denied the party ticket for the assembly constituency of Patsoi. As the central BJP leaders have refused to acknowledge his contribution and potential, he wants his money back, Keba said.

Earlier, Sapam Kunjakeshor (Keba) who joined North East India Development Party (NEIDP) yesterday kickstarted his political campaign today at a one day political convention at Tera Bazar.

Election boycott if blockade not resolved

Imphal Free Press
IMPHAL| Jan 29

The All Manipur Muslim Welfare Organisation (AMMWO) has warned that it will call for boycott of BJP and Congress in the Muslim dominated areas of the state if the issue of economic blockade is not resolved at the earliest. The economic blockade imposed by the United Naga Council has already crossed three months. Speaking to media persons at the organisation’s office at Hafiz Hatta, Imphal East the vice president of the organization KM Boboy strongly accused both the Congress government in the state and the BJP government in centre of playing political game instead of solving the issue.

He demanded of the state government to bring an everlasting solution instead of seeking short term solutions. If the issue is not resolved at the earliest, the organisation will not allow candidates of both parties to enter Muslim dominated areas for election campaign. Boboy even warned of boycotting the election in the said areas.

He also appealed to all organisations and groups not to use economic blockade or blockade as a tool for making any demand.

Motive behind airlifting of diesel trucks still unclear

Imphal Free Press
IMPHAL | Jan 30

The Diesel brought into the state last week in a C-17 Globemaster, one of the biggest cargo planes in the world was a joint exercise of the ministry of petroleum and natural gas and Indian Air Force. It was learnt that the Indian Oil Corporation has nothing to do with the transportation of the diesel and neither has the authority. The cargo plane made the first touchdown in Imphal on January 22 and another two ‘shorties’ on January 23. The plane transported three trucks.

The drivers of the trucks were in the side cockpit and drove the trucks after landing in Tulihal airport. The cargo plane transported the three trucks in two trips with each truck loaded with 32 KL and a total of 96 KL was brought in the state. The plane can take off with a maximum of 2,65,350 kg, the weight of the plane is 1, 28,100 kg. The motive of transporting the fuel by the cargo plane is not clear.

NEIDP releases poll manifesto

Imphal Free Press
IMPHAL| Jan 30

North East India Development Party (NEIDP) has pledged to bring a well-organised, developed state and jobs for 7 lakh unemployed youths. The party released its election manifesto and introduced the party symbol at the party head office premises, Sagolband Tera Loukrakpam Leikai today.

NEIDP president Narenbam Samarjit, advisor Aheibam Biren, Sanasam Sarat and spokesperson Laimayum Gopeshor Sharma was present at the function.

Propaganda secretary Brojendro Yumlembam said that based on the path of Gandhiji this party will bring a peaceful, corruption free and well developed society.

MLA Shyamkumar threatened

The Sangai Express

Imphal, January 30 2017: In an apparent election-related incident, tension ran high at Yairipok Yambem in Thoubal district today after a supporter of an intending BJP candidate for the ensuing State Assembly election threatened to kill sitting MLA of Andro Assembly Constituency, Thounaojam Shyamkumar.

Speaking to media persons in this regard, spokesperson of Yambem Apunba Meira Lup, Sh Shumati said that the tension gripped the area after one Moirangthem Ibocha, a supporter of an intending BJP candidate from the constituency came to Shyamkumar’s residence and threatened to kill the MLA.

She contended that the man dared local women folks to do whatever they want to save the MLA.

Thereafter, a scuffle broke out in which a housewife sustained injuries, she said, while strongly condemning the incident.

Claiming that Ibocha is a former member of an underground outfit, Shumati said that any untoward incident in the future should be the sole responsibility of the man.

She urged the authorities concerned to look into the matter seriously.

Sadananda joins JD (U)

The Sangai Express

Imphal, January 30 2017: Takhellambam Sadananda who was preparing to contest the forthcoming Assembly election from Keirao Assembly Constituency on BJP ticket has joined Janata Dal (U). A reception ceremony was organised at the office of JD (U) at Hatta today to welcome him.

Speaking at the occasion, president of JD (U) State unit, V Hangkhanpao said that there is no confusion at all amongst the party candidates who will be contesting in the coming election. Chairperson of JD (U) Parliamentary Board, M Tombi said that BJP Government at the Centre and Congress Government at the State should jointly work to end the ongoing economic blockade called by United Naga Council (UNC) on National Highways instead of blaming each other.

He observed that airlifting of essential items to the State due to the blockade would not last long. The Government should find a long lasting solution instead of airlifting which is a temporary measure. People are aware of the fact that UNC is a frontal organisation working at the behest of NSCN (IM).

Highlight ground situation to ECI: BJP

The Sangai Express

Imphal, January 30 2017: The BJP has urged the Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) to make the Election Commission of India (ECI) aware of the tense situation in the State including the economic blockade and the picketing of Government offices in Naga dominated areas. According to a source, BJP put forward the issue at a political conference organised by the CEO at Old Secretariat Conference hall today.

The BJP urged the CEO to organise a meeting which will also include political parties, at the earliest to discuss the various issues including non functioning of Government institutions due to picketing in Naga dominated areas despite the frantic preparations for the coming election. BJP urged the CEO to let the ECI know the reality about the current situation by sending a review of the election preparation from the proposed meeting, it added.

According to the source, the CEO assured that all the political parties can meet and bring forward any issues directly to the ECI when it comes to inspect the election preparations in the first week of next month. MPP also brought up the issue of inconsistencies in the electoral roll in the meeting stating that people whose names should be in the roll were absent whereas people who should not be there were present, it added.

The political parties also brought up a case of inadequate supply of CGI sheets by a department, thus violating the model code of conduct. Today’s meeting was organised mainly for discussing paid news, MCMC, qualification and disqualification, model code of conduct, ECI FS.

Politicising the economic blockade: Failing to address the core issue

The Sangai Express Editorial, 31 January 2017

BJP, UNC, NSCN (IM) are one and same-This was Chief Minister O Ibobi while addressing the reception function of a large number of people who joined the Congress party from other political parties at Congress Bhawan on January 28.

Cong campaigning in the name of NSCN (IM): BJP-This was former MLA, N Biren while speaking at the district level meeting of the BJP at Keishamthong Ahanthem Leikai ground on January 29.

Clearly the two principal political parties are hell bent on capitalising on the ongoing economic blockade imposed by the United Naga Council since midnight of October 31 last year in the run up to the coming Assembly election and while it is still early days yet to read the poll tea leaves, this should more than make it clear that the longer the UNC continues with the economic blockade, the more this issue will be politicised by all the political parties and this is a point which should have registered in the minds of the UNC a long time back.

In other words, the coming Assembly election will see a highly polarised vote with the Naga dominated hill districts sure to come out strongly against the Congress while it may stand fairly well in the Kuki dominated hill districts.

The creation of Jiribam and Kakching districts too appears to have gone down well with the people settled in the valley and how the BJP intends to fight this will be interesting to note. Other issues, such as high level of corruption, poor administration, slow pace of development etc have all been driven to the back burner and it is now the economic blockade which has occupied centre stage.

It is also significant to note that while the BJP and the Congress have been going hammer and tongs against each other on the economic blockade, not much have been said on the core issue of the blockade. Obviously the BJP cannot afford to signal the message that it is against the creation of the new districts, while the Congress obviously does not need to say anything on this.

So it is the economic blockade around which the two political parties are aiming to take pot shots against each other, while conveniently overlooking the core issue which is the creation of the new districts. This is not about being politically correct but being correct with an eye on the coming election.

So if the Congress created the new districts with an eye on the coming Assembly election, the BJP is mum on this point with an eye on the election. The natural question that follows is what is the stand of the BJP on the creation of the new districts? More than likely that the economic blockade will continue and the two parties will continue to hurl allegations against each other, but without really addressing the core issue which has led to the blockade. Paying the price at the altar of the election.

Manipur Election 2017: BJP leaves Muslim candidates for Assembly polls out in the cold

Firstpost, 29 Jan 2017

Muslims aspiring for BJP tickets in the upcoming Manipur Assembly elections have been left out in the cold. The BJP has given the go ahead to just 1 of the 17 Muslim candidates who sought party tickets for five assembly seats in upcoming polls on 4 and 8 March the Economic Times reported. The BJP, while announcing their first list of candidates for 31 out of 60 seats, approved candidates from the Meitei community even in areas which have large Muslim populations such as Keirao, Wabgai and Wangkhem.

Md Anwar Hussain, the sole Muslim candidate approved by the party, will contest from Lilong — a constituency with the largest Muslim population in the state.The next list is expected over the next couple of days. Md Salam Khan and Md Habibur Rehman, the BJP state unit president and vice president of Minority Morcha were also denied tickets. Rehman has now joined the JD(U) and will contest from Wagbai, India Today reported.

Khan, who joined BJP in 2014 after being member of the Congress for over 10 years, had sought to contest from Keirao seat. He lost out to L Rameshwor Meitei. Khan, expressing disappointment with the way the BJP has distributed tickets, lamented the fact that the ticket had been given to an individual who joined the BJP just two months ago. Khan said that while he would remain with the BJP, the manner in which the tickets were distributed made it more difficult for him to explain the BJP’s intentions in the state to the Muslim community.

He also said this move made it more difficult to counter the Congress’ propaganda that BJP wanted a minority-less government in Manipur. He said out of a total of 60 seats in Manipur there are 18 constituencies, where Muslim votes are swing factors, which BJP will now find it difficult to garner. ‘When you give ticket to Muslim for just one seat, that too for a constituency where the community is majority what is the message being sent out to the rest of population in the state?’ he wondered.

Manipur Election 2017: All constituencies are challenging with unique problems, says CEO Vivek Dewangan

By Simantik Dowerah
Jan, 27 2017

As Manipur readies to vote for a new Assembly, the state Chief Electoral Officer Vivek Kumar Dewangan is an extremely busy man. The 1993-batch IAS officer assumed his new role in August last year. Dewangan was serving as the commerce and industries commissioner prior to his role in the poll body. Manipur votes in two phases on 4 and 8 March for its 60-member Assembly. Almost perennially in a state of strife, the ongoing economic blockade, the tensions between the hills and plains districts and the many militant groups only makes this democratic exercise in Manipur even harder. Steering the whole election process from his unenviable position, Dewangan, an IIT Delhi alumni, shares with Firstpost the details of the road that lies ahead. Edited excerpts:

How is the security situation in Manipur in light of the differences between the Nagas, the government and many active underground groups?

The chief secretary held an elaborate meeting with all stakeholders on January 24. Representatives from the army, police and paramilitary forces were present to take stock of the situation. Two hundred and fifty companies of Central Armed Police Force will be here to help us conduct the elections securely. Of the 250 companies, 44 are already here because of the economic blockade. We are expecting 206 more companies as the election draws closer.

What will be the impact of economic blockade and the different roadblocks in the state? Will you be able to move in all requisite infrastructure in time for the polls?
We are ready to hold the polls. All our infrastructure is in place. Earlier, we thought that the state would have a single phase polling. So we already had everything in place. But luckily for us, polling will take place in two phases. Besides, as the state is going to the polls in March, we have an extra month, which has helped even more.

What about the seven new districts that were recently announced? Will they pose a logistical challenge?

The Election Commission has made it clear that the district election officers who were assigned to the earlier districts will continue their work in the new districts. The new deputy commissioners are not empowered as returning officers. These new deputy commissioners won’t be in the picture as far as this round of Assembly election is concerned. Everything is in place. We are not expecting any difficulties so far as the formation of the new districts are concerned.

Manipur is a state known for the divide between the hills and the valley. What will be more challenging — the hills or the plains?

All constituencies in Manipur are challenging. Each of them has their own unique problems. But as per the orders of the Election Commission, we are committed to fulfilling the constitutional mandate and holding free and fair elections.

What kind of voter turnout are you expecting?

Manipur, traditionally, has had a very high voter turnout. In the last Assembly election, the voting percentage was 79.19 percent. In the 2014 Lok Sabha election, it was 66.4 percent. We are hoping that this time around, voter turnout will cross 80 percent.

Is the Election Commission taking any specific steps to encourage more people to vote?

We have started a systematic voter education programme, which we are taking to the streets. This time, there are 55,000 new voters. To motivate these voters, we are targeting the higher secondary schools and colleges. We are focusing on ethical voting and trying to ensure more participation. In 2012, there were 17,48,399 voters in the state. We are focusing on social media as well. We are updating our website on a regular basis and keeping everyone updated through our Facebook and Twitter accounts. To mark National Voters’ Day on 25 January, we launched an app called E-Manipur Election, which is available on Google Play. We are getting a great response from young voters. The good thing about Manipur is that mobile penetration is huge. Manipur has a population of 33 lakh — 24 lakh people in Manipur have cellphones — of which 19 lakh are voters. We are attempting to get as many of these numbers so we can send them messages that inspire them to vote.

What about women voters? Is the Election Commission taking specific steps to increase the number of women voters?

In Manipur, when it comes to voting, the gender equation favours women. That’s the unique thing about Manipur. As per the 2011 Census, there are 987 females per 1,000 males in the state. However, on our electoral rolls, we have 1,044 females per 1,000 men. Women are making great strides in Manipur. We hope that this time, even more women will participate in the election.

What about the cost of conducting the polls?

As this is an Assembly poll and a one-off election, the cost will be entirely borne by the state. Had it coincided with the Lok Sabha election, the cost would have been shared equally by the state and Centre. If it had been just the Lok Sabha election, the Centre would have paid for the expense.

What about the seizure of cash and keeping the election clean?

On January 24, an investigation team of income tax officials from Guwahati seized Rs 6.75 lakh. We have increased our vigil. Our flying squads are conducting raids.

What makes this poll different?

The spirit is different. It is a festival of democracy. Be it the voters or the candidates, we are taking everyone on board. So far, the response has been great

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

by Rahul Karmakar & Sobhapati Samom
Hindustan Times

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.

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