Chapter 36

Poll violence escalates in Mayang Imphal

Imphal Free Press
IMPHAL | Feb 11

Poll related violence has increased in Mayang Imphal assembly constituency. According to sources, workers of Congress party attacked several residences located at Konchak Makha Leikai since last night. The violence started as houses started putting up flags of BJP in Konchak Makha Leikai. The houses which displayed BJP flags were pelted with stones, the bamboo flag post chopped up.

Despite the district administration ordering that weapons should be deposited, many residences were also fired upon and some families have fled from their homes fearing reprisal. Some individuals have also been admitted to hospital after being beaten up.

Cong lawmakers seek UNC ban, Cabinet may follow

Imphal Free Press
IMPHAL | Feb 11

Hardening the ruling party’s stand against the ongoing economic blockade the Congress Legislature Party (CLP) today resolved to urge the Narendra Modi government at the Centre to declare United Naga Council (UNC) an unlawful organisation. Chief minister Okram Ibobi Singh, who is also the leader of the CLP, presided over the meeting that began at 10 am this morning.

The meeting discussed the blockade called by UNC along Imphal-Dimapur highway and Imphal-Jiribam highway, a statement signed by the chief minister said.

Gold, cash seized by election monitors

Imphal Free Press
IMPHAL | Feb 11

The Chief Electoral Officer, Vivek Kumar Dewangan claimed achievements of various teams monitoring election expenditure in the legislative assembly election 2017 for the period of till February 10, 2017. According to the press note, 0.0039 kg of gold worth Rs 11,310 were seized while the police department and Income Tax department seized Rs 8,13,000 out of which Rs 6,95,000 by FST of Bishnupur and Rs 6,95,000 seized by FST of Bishnupur and the seizure cash were handed over to Income Tax on January 13, 2017.

The police department seized 271 grams of suspected heroine powder worth Rs 10,49,000, 25,800 numbers of N-10 capsules worth Rs 3,20,000, 1, 37,734 numbers of SP Capsules and 8,630 kgs of SP Capsules worth Rs1,93.46,080, 341,2 kgs of Ganja worth Rs 5.34,000, 1,677 WY tablets worth Rs 1,22,820 and 500 grams of Opium worth Rs 60,000 while the Narcotics department destroyed 181 acres of illicit Opium (poppy), it said.

Congress bashing: Phungzathang’s turn

Imphal Free Press
IMPHAL | Feb 11

Phungzathang Tonsing, the former minister who left Congress only yesterday, said today that there is something wrong with the Congress government led by O Ibobi Singh. He said, the restive situation in Churachandpur could have been resolved long back through legal channels. The nine bodies should have been legally disposed off after getting permission from a magistrate.

Phungzathang was speaking at his reception by the National Peoples’ Party (NPP) today at the Classic Grande, Chingmeirong. Three times cabinet member, six times MLA, two times party president and long time Congress heavy weight Phungzathang Tonsing today joined National People’s Party (NPP) even as he was declared the official Congress nominee for Churachandpur constituency.

NPP spokesperson and former DGP Y Joykumar supporting Phungzathang’s comment said that the government could have resolved the issue long back.

NPP announces 8 candidates

The Sangai Express

Imphal, February 11 2017: After a first list of 12 candidates was announced, National People’s Party (NPP) announced its second list of candidates today. The second list comprising of eight candidates includes former Minister Phungza-thang Tonsing. He resigned from the primary membership of Congress and joined NPP after he had been already allotted Congress ticket.

He was also a former president of MPCC. The other candidates announced today are Letza- mang Haokip (Henglep AC), Henlianthang Thanglet (Singhat AC), Ngursanglur Sanate (Tipaimukh AC), Habib Ali (Jiribam AC), Vivekraj Wangkhem (Kshetrigao AC) and Ng Robert (Singjamei AC).

While announcing the second list of candidates, NPP president Conrad K Sangma declared that former DGP and the party’s candidate in Uripok AC Y Joykumar has been appointed the party’s spokesman. Phungzathang Tonsing said that he quit Congress and joined NPP in accordance with the wishes of the people of Churachandpur AC.

Dr Meinya raises blockade issue in LS

The Sangai Express

Imphal, February 11 2017: Dr Thokchom Meinya raised the issue of economic blockade imposed by the United Naga Council (UNC) in the Lok Sabha’s Union Budget General discussion. Speaking at the discussion, he said, ‘Let us take the case of the more than 100 days long economic blockade on the two National Highways of Manipur called by the UNC.

The Union Government has practically and absolutely failed to end the three month long economic blockade imposed on the only lifelines of the State’. The people of the State are facing insurmountable hardships as prices of essential commodities including petroleum products have skyrocketed and life saving drugs are in acute shortage.

‘The long awaited tripartite talk of the Union Government, State Government and the UNC was initiated on February 3 but on February 7, the UNC’s presidential council meeting decided to continue the blockade and on the other end the State Assembly election notification came out’, he said.

He pointed out that nobody seemed to care any more and only the common people have been made to suffer in the end.

‘Economic blockade is not the right way and is a crime against humanity.

‘It has created hatred among us, let us stop it. I urge the UNC to immediately call off the economic blockade. I strongly urge the Union Government to immediately intervene and help the State Government to mitigate the situation before it is too late’, he added.

BJP candidate Sword Vashum kicks off poll campaign

The Sangai Express / Mungchan Zimik

Ukhrul, February 11 2017: Thousands of BJP workers and supporters from 45- Chingai Assembly Constituency, Ukhrul attended the election campaign kick off programme of BJP candidate Sword Vashum. Ukhrul district BJP president Thothing Kashung hoisted the saffron party flag today at Centre Plaza Viewland, Ukhrul.

BJP candidate from 45- Chingai Constituency, Sword Vashum expressed gratefulness on seeing the huge response and the confidence placed on him by the people. Addressing the gathering, Sword Vashum said that he chose the BJP because it is the right platform from which he can highlight the needs of the people. Going on the offensive against the Congress, Sword Vashum asked what the party has done for the people of Ukhrul district after attaining independence more than 50 years back.

Calling for a clean election to fight corruption, the BJP candidate assured that he will put in his mite to root out corruption from the State. Ensuring equal development of all irrespective of communities and political parties was another agenda he talked about.

Only a BJP Government can fully implement the numerous National programmes which are meant for the development and welfare of the people, he said and asked all to give BJP the chance to form the Government.

CPI releases election manifesto

The Sangai Express

Imphal, February 11 2017: CPI, Manipur State Council has today released the election manifesto at Langthabal Mayai Leikai. CPI National leader MP D Raja, CPI Manipur State Council secretary Dr M Nara, CPI Manipur State Council assistant secretary L Sotinkumar and CPI workers were also present at the function. D Raja, while addressing the gathering, said that the 35-point manifesto is based on various issues of the State.

‘It is our appeal to the people to discuss the manifesto and support the party in the ensuing State Assembly election,’ he said.

He added, ‘Though Manipuri language is included in the 8th Schedule of Indian Constitution, it is unfortunate that the same has not been promoted’.

People of Manipur have been demanding to repeal AFSPA. Neither the Congress party, when in power at the Centre, nor the present Central Government led by BJP have done anything to repeal the Act.

Innocent people are continuing to suffer. To ignore the collective voice to repeal AFSPA is indeed saddening, D Raja said.

Manipur Election 2017: Why it took Afspa 60 years to become a poll issue

by Kangkan Acharyya

Why did it take nearly six decades for Afspa to become an election issue in Manipur? What could be the outcome after Irom Chanu Sharmila appears as a candidate in the Manipur Assembly election? These are the two questions that will decide the future of the struggle to have Afspa repealed.

Why so late?

The Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act (Afspa) has been in force in Manipur since the 1950s. But it was only after Sharmila, who fasted for 16 years demanding its repealment, decided to contest the Assembly election with her newly-floated party, People’s Resurgence and Justice Alliance (PRJA) this year that it appeared as an election issue.

Manipur that has gone through a bloody history of of both extremist and ‘state-sponsored’ terrorism that saw 1,528 extra-judicial killings in the past four decades, alleges the Extra Judicial Execution Victim Families Association. Neena Ningombam, who lost her husband Nongmaithem Michael in a fake encounter on 4 November, 2008 in Imphal elaborates how the extra-judicial killings are executed: ‘In most cases, the army is the mastermind, although the trigger is being pulled by the Manipur Police commandos. The forces are massively empowered because of the Afspa. We are yet to receive justice.’

File image of Irom Sharmila. Reuters File image of Irom Sharmila. Reuters
Babloo Loitongbam, director of Human Rights Alert, an NGO, says that nearly 1,200 cases of such killings occurred in the 15-year tenure of the present Congress regime led by Chief Minister Okram Ibobi Singh. ‘In Manipur, we have something called Unified Headquarters that is pretty much in charge of security in the state and it counts the police, paramilitary forces and the Indian Army as part of it. Before Ibobi, all other chief ministers resisted such a security structure. But he went ahead with it and these extra-judicial killings just took a quantum leap,’ he says.

But that has hardly ever made Afspa a political issue in elections in Manipur. No wonder then that Ibobi won three Assembly elections in a row since 2002. Loithangbam told Firstpost that the reason Afspa has not become a political issue might be due to a lack of political awareness among the people about the Act. ‘Repealing Afspa became an election issue in Manipur in the early 1970s. But that really did not pick up, possibly due to a lack of awareness among the people,’ he adds.

This is in stark contrast with the neighbouring state of Assam, where ‘secret killings’ during the Asom Gana Parishad regime not only emerged as a strong political issue, but also as the reason why the then chief minister Prafulla Kumar Mahanta was ousted from power in 2001. Professor Bimal Akoijam of Jawaharlal Nehru University agrees that a lack of awareness among the public is a reason Afspa has not been an election issue for so long.

‘In Manipur, elections are hardly political. Although it sounds derogatory, it is true to say that the election is more like a festival in Manipur,’ he says.

He also says that he has been running publicity campaigns to make people aware that issues should play the main roles in electoral politics and public life. ‘This time too we are also trying to launch advertisement campaigns before the election to highlight the political issues that loom over Manipur,’ he says. He also adds that a lack of public awareness is not the sole reason that it took such a long time for Afspa to become a political issue; the way Afspa was carried to the people was also a reason for it.

‘Although the world saw a historic protest against Afspa by Sharmila, it lacked political articulation. The movement was navigated with legal arguments. But the danger Afspa poses to our democracy by determining a role for the army in the administration was hardly discussed. All over the world, the involvement of the army in domestic affairs is seen as dangerous,’ adds Akoijam.

Loitongbam, who has been a close associate of Sharmila’s, agrees with the view that the translation of legal arguments against Afspa to political discourse did not happen, which could also be the reason it did not find a prominent place in political discussions.

What lies ahead?

Akoijam believes that Sharmila, who has pitted herself against Ibobi has a feeble chance of winning. ‘Even if she manages to get four or five MLAs elected, what change can one expect from such a small number of legislators?’ he asks. Nevertheless, Loitongbam says that it is important that the issue of repeal of Afspa has gained importance in election. ‘We can now see that even the BJP has taken up the issue of fake encounters,’ he states, adding that the PRJA has fielded 10 candidates in Manipur which has 60 Assembly constituencies.

Akoijam says that in the near future, Sharmila is likely to face more hurdles in taking the cause of repealing Afspa forward after she joined electoral politics. ‘People are normally cynical about politics. Apart from fighting against Afspa, now Sharmila will also have to fight this cynicism being a politician herself,’ he adds.

Naba Thakuria, of the Patriotic People’s Forum of Assam has a different take about the future of the struggle against Afspa.

‘The Indian Army has worked really hard for an image makeover in North East India with gestures of social service schemes such as building roads, bridges and organising cultural functions. These efforts have worked and cases of atrocities by the army have also dropped drastically. So it might become increasingly difficult to sustain the movement against Afspa,’ he says.

But he adds that Sharmila will continue to be an icon for the enormous sacrifice she has made for the cause.

Why not spell out contents of Framework Agreement : CM
Ibobi questions PM’s unwillingness to disclose details

The Sangai Express

Imphal, February 08 2017: Chief Minister Okram Ibobi has asked if there would be any harm if Prime Minister Narendra announces that the Framework Agreement signed between the Government of India and NSCN-IM does not contain anything inimical to the State of Manipur provided he is coming to the State for election campaign.

The Chief Minister said this while speaking at a flag hoisting ceremony of Congress candidate in Konthoujam AC Konthoujam Sarat held today at the latter’s residence located near Konthoujam Lairembi premises.

Ibobi noted that no one has any idea about the contents of the Framework Agreement signed on August 3, 2015.The Chief Minister then appealed to the BJP leaders of Manipur to persuade the Prime Minister and make him announce that the Framework Agreement does not contain anything which impinges upon Manipur.

Talking about the National Sports University (NSU), the Chief Minister appealed to all concerned to establish it in a systematic manner. A Parliament session is going on. Let the Prime Minister come to Manipur for election campaign after a Bill is passed during the ongoing Parliament session for establishment of NSU.

‘If that is the case, we would be more than happy to welcome the Prime Minister in the most befitting manner’, Ibobi stated.

The State welcomed the NDA Government’s decision when Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley announced that NSU would be established in Manipur. After inspection of some sites by a team of officials and experts of the Union Sports Ministry, necessary land was allotted to the Ministry at Yaithibi Loukon, Thoubal district. But all of a sudden, the Ministry contended that Yaithibi Loukon is a low-lying area and the site of NSU was shifted to Koutruk.

‘It doesn’t make any difference to us whether NSU is established at Koutruk or Yaithibi Loukon.

We even suggested using the Khuman Lampak Sports complex as temporary campus of NSU’, Ibobi stated. On the assurance that the Prime Minister would be coming to the State, a few helipads and roads were constructed but the Bill necessary for establishment of NSU has not been passed yet, Ibobi decried. He went on to claim that such practice of telling falsehoods is alien to Congress party. Any project assured or announced by the Congress party was never abandoned without implementing it.

NSCN-IM, UNC and NPF are allies and their primary agenda is unification of Naga inhabited areas of Manipur, Assam, Arunachal Pradesh and even Myanmar and bring them under one administrative roof, alleged the Chief Minister.

LJP announces names of 11 candidates

The Sangai Express

Imphal, February 08 2017: Lok Janshakti Party has announced the names of 11 candidates in the first phase with the remaining candidates to be announced soon. Speaking to media persons at the party’s office at Babupara, LJP National general secretary (North East in charge) Karam Shyam said, ‘The names of 11 candidates have been announced today in the first phase.

The remaining names will be announced in the next two/three days.

He said that although the party may face some difficulties in covering the 40 A/Cs in the valley, the party’s presence in the hill is quite favourable as LJP leader Ram Vilas Paswan is a champion for Dalit, SC, ST and minority struggle.

Shyam said, ‘One of LJP’s main aims is to bring development to the State without any communal boundaries. The party also aim to bring all round development to the underdeveloped hill areas of the State’.

The party also aims to improve the condition of unemployed and the poor and the needy, he added. Shyam pointed out that the party will work according to the interests of the people without depending on any other party and will further work towards eliminating corruption from the State if its candidates win the election.

The names of the candidates which were announced today are Takhellambam Samananda of 6-Keirao A/C, Athokpam Kishor Singh of 14-Yaiskul A/C, Karam Shyam of 20-Langthabal A/C, Konthoujam Manoranjan 21-Naoriya Pakhanglakpa A/C, Moirangmayum Thoiba Singh of 22-Wangoi A/C, Ningombam Ibohal Meitei of 29-Kumbi A/C, Kangabam Jadumani Singh of 32-Wangkhem A/C, Wungshim Angkang of 43-Phungyar A/C, Worthington of 44-Ukhrul A/C, Thang Khan Gin of 56-Thanlon A/C and Holkholun of 59-Saikot A/C.

More join NPP

The Sangai Express

Imphal, February 08 2017: Many aspiring candidates who have been denied Congress and BJP tickets have joined the National People’s Party (NPP). The intending BJP candidates who have quit BJP and joined NPP are Ch Bijoy alias Thoiba (Patsoi AC), Md Habibur Rahman (Wabagai AC), David Maring Charanga (Tengnoupal AC) and N Kayisii (Tadubi AC).

Letpao Haokip who was seeking Congress ticket in Chandel AC has also joined NPP. It is reported that all these candidates would contest the forthcoming State Assembly election on NPP tickets. A felicitation function of the new NPP members was held today at the party’s office located at Chingmeirong Khongnang Ani Karak. Speaking at the gathering, NPP State unit president Thangminlen Kipgen asked all aspiring candidates to do away with the politics of begging party tickets.

Election expenditure monitoring coordination meeting held

The Sangai Express / DIPR

Imphal, February 08 2017: A coordination meeting with Central election expenditure observers of Imphal East district was held today at the Panchayat Bhawan, Imphal East, Porompat. The meeting, presided by Imphal East DEO Ningthoujam Geoffrey, was also attended by the officials engaged in election machinery.

Training programme for all the expenditure monitoring teams including three Central expenditure observers for Imphal East district, who arrived today, was also conducted. The three observers are Pushkraj Bharti, Dr Prakash Borgohain and Jayshankar Prakash Upadhyay.

The three officers will be in the district till February 9.Their next visit will from February 19 till March 4. During the meeting, Dr Borgohain congratulated the security personnel for their efforts in the preparations for the ensuing Manipur Legislative Assembly election.

The officer also made a presentation and explained how money can influence elections. He elaborated on the source of party and candidate campaign funds, expenditure and repayment. He said if any candidate crosses the expenditure limit of Rs 20 lakh during the election campaign, legal actions can be initiated.

He explained several legal provisions to help check the use of black money during the election and further highlighted the provisions under Representation of the People’s Act 1951; Conduct of Elections Rules 196, Instructions of Commission; Indian Penal Code 1860, Income Tax Laws and State Excise Acts & Rules.

Dr Borgohain also elaborated Section 10A in the Representation of the People Act 1951: Disqualification for failure to lodge account of election expenses. Upadhyay elaborated and explained the new expenditure monitoring machineries including expenditure observer (EO), assistant expenditure observer (AEO), flying squad and static surveillance teams (FS and SST), video surveillance team (VST), video viewing team (VVT), media certification and monitoring committee (MCMC), accounting team, liquor monitoring team, ESCs and ESPs.

NEIDP releases list of 10 candidates

Imphal Free Press

The newly formed North East India Development Party (NEIDP) today announced names of ten candidates in the first list.

The candidates are retired IPS officer Potshangbam Dhanakumar Singh in Keisamthong constituency, ex-president United Committee Manipur, Yumnam Nabachandra Singh in Wangkhem constituency, former BJP leader Oinam Malesh Singh in Naoriya Pakhanglakpa constituency, ex-minister Ashangbam Biren Singh in Jiribam constituency, ex-MLA Doukhomang Khongsai in Saikul constituency, Mayengbam Ranjit Singh in Wabagai constituency, Sheikh Kheiruddin in Lilong constituency, Thongam Gopen Meitei in Keirao and Ningombam Nillakumar Singh in Langthabal and Sapam Kunjakishore in Patsoi constituency.

Felicitating the candidates during a reception at Tera Sapham Leirak in Patsoi constituency, party president Narengbam Samarjit appealed to all political leaders in Manipur to come together to bring better governance.

He urged all political parties and leaders to stop blame game, and instead suggest ideas to resolve the plethora of issues faced by the people of Manipur.

Recalling great ancestors of Manipur, Samarjit lauded ‘irrespective of political parties, our political leaders are of great personalities and good players. However, political conflicts have victimised them.’

UNC reiterates stand against districts creation, blockade continues

The Sangai Express / NNN

Spt/Imphal, February 07 2017: Clearly reflecting that the tripartite talk held between the State Government, Central Government and the United Naga Council on February 3 at New Delhi failed to break the deadlock, the presidential council meeting of the UNC held today at Senapati has decided to continue with their staunch opposition to the decision of the State Government to create seven new districts, without consulting all the stakeholders.

This means that the indefinite economic blockade, picketing of Government offices and the ban of the ongoing National projects in ‘Naga areas’ in Manipur will continue, according to UNC general secretary S Milan. He asserted that the Naga people will never give up their fight to protect their land and rights.

In a statement issued to the press today, UNC said that the emergency presidential council meeting reiterated the rejection of the creation of the 7 new districts and resolved to continue to fight against the insidious design of ‘grabbing our land on the pretext of administrative convenience till the same is withdrawn’. The UNC also resolved that Nagas would fight against any ‘other moves that would affect our land and identity’.

Today’s meeting was convened to critically explore the tripartite talk, said UNC and added ‘The declaration of 7 new districts by the Government of Manipur on December 8, 2016 without consulting the stake holders in utter disrespect of the 4 Memorandum of Understandings (MoUs) signed with Naga organizations and assurance given by the Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India was the core issue to be discussed in the tripartite talk’.

According to the UNC, the Government of Manipur only pleaded its helplessness on taking up the core issue in the talk as the election code of conduct, which came into effect from January 4, 2017, prohibits any political decision for roll back or otherwise either by the Government of Manipur or the Government of India.

The next tripartite talk for taking up the core issue was then scheduled for March 25, 2017, it added.

‘The Government of Manipur and the Government of India moved for creating a conducive atmosphere for the next tripartite meeting and it was agreed that none of the parties would go to the press on sensitive matters discussed in the talk.

Keishamthong Cong workers set to resign

The Sangai Express

Imphal, February 07 2017: Aggrieved by the manner the party ticket was allotted, office bearers and members of Keishamthong BCC have resigned from the party. Speaking to media persons at the Pishumthong residence of former Minister L Jayantakumar this afternoon, leaders of different frontal organisations of Congress party declared that they will resign from the Congress.

Notably, Jayantakumar quit Congress party recently and joined National People’s Party (NPP) to fight the election on NPP ticket. Keishamthong BCC general secretary Bimolchandra Mangangcha said that they were sharing the highs and downs of Congress party under the leadership of L Jayantakumar for the past 15 years.

‘This time too we were working to field Jayantakumar as a Congress candidate in Keishamthong AC and we were confident that he would win’, Bimolchandra said. However, the party ticket was allotted to one candidate who joined the party only recently through back door and this disappointed all the workers of the party, he lamented. He informed that they would soon submit their resignation letters to the MPCC.

BJP may announce CM candidate : Chaoba

The Sangai Express

Imphal, February 07 2017: BJP State election management commi-ttee convenor Th Chaoba has hinted that the party may soon announce its Chief Ministerial candidate for the State. Talking to this reporter over telephone, Th Chaoba who is currently at Delhi conveyed that he called on Prime Minister Narendra Modi today and urged him to announce Manipur’s Chief Ministerial candidate so as to give an edge to the party’s election campaign.

The Prime Minister reportedly assured that the Chief Ministerial candidate may be announced soon in consultation with party president K Bhabananda. Chaoba maintained that announcing a Chief Ministerial candidate is very impor- tant for BJP as it is taking on ruling Congress party. He claimed that BJP is all prepared for the political battle against Congress party and the most competent and qualified one among the 60 BJP candidates may be announced soon as the party’s Chief Ministerial candidate.

The party has full confidence that it would score a landslide victory and the BJP would form the next Government, Chaoba said with confidence. He further claimed that he sought immediate attention of the Prime Minister toward the ongoing indefinite economic blockade in view of the extreme misery being endured by the people of Manipur for a prolonged period to which the Prime Minister reportedly responded positively. Prime Minister Narendra would come to the State and join the party’s election campaign. He would address two election rallies at Imphal and Churachandpur on February 25 and 26, Chaoba added.

Achouba joins MNDF

The Sangai Express

Imphal, February 07 2017: Former MPCC vice-president Sagolsem Achouba who recently quit Congress party will contest the upcoming election in Wangoi AC on MNDF ticket. Mutum Dinesh who was seeking Congress ticket in Langthabal AC and L Hingba Thomas who was lobbying for BJP ticket in Tadubi AC have also joined MNDF to contest the election on MNDF tickets in their respective constituencies.

Following Achouba’s footsteps, the Chairperson of Wangoi Municipal Council and some other Councillors have joined MNDF. The new members were accorded a warm reception at MNDF’s Babupara office today where MNDF working president Bijoy Koijam was also present.

Bijoy Koijam said that MNDF’s high command is the people of Manipur unlike BJP and Congress. He went on to claim that MNDF would play a decisive role in forming the next State Government. Sagolsem Achouba said that he decided to join MNDF after due consultations with the people of Wangoi AC. He said that MNDF was set up for the cause of the people of Manipur.

Kim Gangte castigates Cong Govt

The Sangai Express

Imphal, February 07 2017: Newly appointed BJP Manipur Pradesh spokesperson Kim Gangte has accused the Congress Government of sowing seeds of communal hatred among different ethnic groups of Manipur thereby sharpening the hill-valley divide.

Speaking to media persons at the office of BJP Manipur Pradesh at Nityaipat Chuthek today, Kim Gangte who is in-charge of BJP hill districts said that Kuki-Naga conflict broke out in the State under the Congress rule. In the valley, there was violent confrontation between Meitei and Meitei Pangal.

Now the creation of seven new districts has deepened the chasm between the hills and the valley, she said. While saying that she welcomed the creation of new districts, Kim Gangte asked as to why the new districts were created when the State Assembly election was just round the corner. On account of pathetic transport infrastructure, district headquarters and sub-divisional headquarters of hill districts are no longer connected.

Government officials are not able to discharge their duties in remote areas of hill districts which only testifies that the State administration does not reach many areas of the State, Kim Gangte said.

Ibomcha lambasts UNC

The Sangai Express

Imphal, February 07 2017: Congress candidate in Keishamthong AC Laisom Ibomcha has categorically stated that the fate of Manipur should be decided by her people and the State Government, not the United Naga Council (UNC).

He was speaking at a public gathering held as a part of the month-long ‘Campaign Against Blockade’ at Kei-shamthong Longjam Leirak here today. It is a wrong notion if UNC thins they are above the people and the Government, Ibomcha said. It is rather abominable if someone is thinking that the UNC presidential council meeting would decide the fate of Manipur.

Whether UNC should be allowed to exist in Manipur or not should be decided by the people and the Government, he said.

Another former BJP intending candidate quit party

The Sangai Express

Imphal, February 07 2017: Former BJP intending candidate from Naoriya Pakhangpakpa AC O Malesh today said that he will fight the ensuing State Assembly election on other party ticket which will be finalised in few days. A meeting was held at Kwakeithel Lamdong Leikai and was attended by his supporters.

At the meeting, O Malesh said, ‘Since I was denied the party ticket, I had actually thought of not contesting in the election. However, it is the wish of my supporters and well wishers that I continue to fight the election and serve the people’.

Malesh’s supporters said that just because he did not get BJP ticket does not mean that he should give up his dream to work for the welfare of the people. O Malesh also spoke on various developmental projects which will be taken up if he is elected.

Postal ballots for SoO groups

Imphal Free Press
IMPHAL | Feb 7

The Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) Manipur, has sent a proposal to Election Commission of India to provide postal ballot facilities to all militant cadres under Suspension of Operation and Memorandum of understanding with the Governments. In a letter addressing the under secretary ECI, Sanjeev Kumar Prasad, the CEO Manipur office, state dthat there are 2181 cadres of 25 underground groups who are under suspension of operation (SoO) in 13 different camps in Manipur.

Of the total cadres there are 472 cadres of 7 undergroud groups who are under Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) in seven different camps, it said adding it proposed the ECI to provide postal ballot facilities to all these cadres at their designated camps as allowed in previous general election.

Former CM Radhabinod back in action

Imphal Free Press
IMPHAL | Feb 6

Nearly three years after joining BJP former chief minister Radhabinod Koijam was today accorded a warm reception by the party at the party’s head office at Nityaipat Chuthek here. BJP general secretary (Northeast coordinator) Ram Madhav was present during the reception.

Radhabinod, who was chief minister for three months in 2001, heading a coalition government of People’s Democratic Alliance, had joined the BJP online in May 2014 as an active member along with his supporters. However, Radhabinod was not involved with the activities of the BJP. He headed an apolitical group of citizens named Citizens’ Committee, Manipur.

After the felicitation Ram said that Radhabinod joined BJP in 2014 but he was busy in promoting social works. He lauded the former chief minister for joining the BJP as an active member. ‘This will surely help in BJP candidates winning in the state assembly election slated for March 4 and March 8.

The reception marks Radhabinod’s comeback to active politics. Ram Madhav claimed in the hill districts BJP will win maximum seats. He said that Congress has already started distancing itself from hill districts and hence in the upcoming election there will be a straight fight between the BJP and Naga Peoples Front. BJP will secure maximum seats in the hills, he said.

Ram said Manipur BJP now has a galaxy of ‘good leaders’ and on the other hand a ‘galaxy of looters’ is in the Congress. He alleged that Ibobi led Congress government wants to ‘shave Manipur’ but BJP wants ‘to save Manipur.’ Ram urged the people of the state not to miss the chance to change the society to a better one in the upcoming election.

Radhabinod said BJP consists of different communities of Manipur, which is a mini-India. He said that he is confident of winning maximum assembly seats in the election.

Congress files complaint against Ram Madhav

Imphal Free Press
IMPHAL | Feb 6

Manipur Pradesh Congress Committee (MPCC) has filed a complaint before the chief electoral officer for necessary action against BJP national general secretary Ram Madhav, said its spokesperson, Khumukcham Joykishan Singh.

Speaking in a press meet held at Congress Bhavan here today, Joykishan said that BJP national leader has maligned individual politician in his speeches. He said defaming individual is against the code of conduct. Joykishan charged that Ram Madhav has intentionally named leader of the house and the state Chief Minister. Further speaking on BJP alliance with NPF, he said that North East Democratic Alliance (NEDA) convenor Hemanta Biswas Sarma is working extensively to strengthen state BJP for the ensuing election.

Election observer inspects Yaiskul polling stations

Imphal Free Press
IMPHAL | Feb 5

Election awareness observer, Dharmendra Tewari visited some polling stations in Yaiskul assembly constituency of Imphal east district today where low polling percentages were recorded during the last State assembly election.

A release said the polling stations Dharmendra visited are 14/1, 14/2, 14/3 located inside the premises of the Shyamasakhi High School, Moirangkhom, 14/ 4 at SEACO community hall, 14/ 18 at Indo Burma Road Sports Association (IBSA), Yumnam Leikai and 14/20, 14/22, 14/23

The observer was accompanied by additional district magistrate Luckyson, N Kashung and Yaiskul polling assistant returning officer Yaiphaba, it said.

The observer interacted with the booth level officers of the polling stations during the visit and enquired about their preparedness for the ensuing assembly election, it said, adding during the interaction with the BLOs, he emphasised on the importance of providing basic amenities at the polling stations including drinking water, electricity and ramps to facilitate the physically handicapped voters among others.

‘NEIDP is voice of people’

Imphal Free Press

The only purpose of the North East India Development Party is to bring transformation in various sectors of the downtrodden state of Manipur, according to president of the newly launched political party, Narengbam Samarjit while addressing a political convention here today.

The one day political convention was organised in connection with the upcoming state general assembly election at Wabagai Yangbi Panchayat ground today.

‘North East India Development Party is the voice of the people for our future; it is voice of people which has been suppressed for years’, said Samarjit and reaffirmed to restore the rich-old tradition, culture, harmonious life, disciple and other values of society which has been distorted in every spheres of Manipuri life in the past 20 years.

Explaining his new avatar as a politician besides being a successful entrepreneur, he said the all-round failure of the Congress led government and its abject lack of governance has compelled him to step into politics for a change. Coming down heavily against alleged human rights violations under the Congress regime, he pointed out that it also has adversely affect on the business sector and as well as on the growth of economy of the state.

Human rights violation is the main reason why the state cannot establish multinational company in spite of the fact that there is no lack of human capital in the state and the Northeastern region at large, he claimed. He assured of positive change in every sector including education, health, women and marginalised sections of society, agriculture and other sector once the party comes to power.

NPP welcomes new members

Imphal Free Press
IMPHAL | Feb 6

National People’s Party (NPP) state unit has welcomed many more members into its fold.

Former Director General of police Y Joykumar Singh has joined NPP in the presence of NPP president Thangminlen Kipgen, National general secretary, Vivek Raj Wangkhem and other party members at its party office at Chingmeirong today.

Joykumar on his joining into NPP said that he was a BJP intending candidate. He said that as he was not selected in the candidature listing, he has decided to join NPP. He said that his joining into NPP was only after proper studying the dynamics of the party and its capacity. He expressed that through NPP he is sure that all North Eastern states can be linked.

He said that there is need to put pressure to the Central Government from a collective body of north eastern states of India. He opined that NPP is the platform for pan north east India.

Candidates should open separate bank account: DEO

Imphal Free Press
IMPHAL | Feb 6

In view of the ensuing assembly election, the district election officer of Imphal west district has notified that in order to facilitate monitoring of election expenditure, each candidate is required to open a separate bank account exclusively.

A release said the account can be opened any time only for the purpose of election, not later than one day before the date on which the candidate files his or her nomination papers. The account number of the bank account shall be communicated by the candidate in writing to the returning officer of the constituency at the time of filing of nomination, it added.

It continued the account can be opened either in the name of the candidate or in the joint name with his or her election agent for the purpose of election expenditure. The said bank account should not be opened in the joint name with any family member of the candidate or any other person, it said.

MNDF welcomes Nandakishore

Imphal Free Press
IMPHAL | Feb 6

Ahead of the state assembly election, Thangjam Nandakishore resigned from state BJP and joined Manipur National Democratic Front (MNDF). This was announced by the working president Bijoy Koijam during a media briefing at MNDF office Babupara.

Expressing warm welcome over former joining the party, Koijam said it is quite unfortunate for BJP as a party that they neglect the potential candidates like Nandakishore and BJP had a trend of setting aside the potential candidates which is not good. He remained as an ex MLA of Kshetrigao AC, therefore we believe he will win as people Kshetrigao AC hugely supported him, Koijam added.

Rameshwar for letting valley ACs in Outer seat contest LS polls; Kakching rolls out red carpet for BJP candidate

The Sangai Express

Imphal, February 05 2017: BJP supporters today took out an election rally at Kakching in support of BJP candidate in Kakching AC Mayang-lambam Rameshwar. The rally was taken out straight after Rameshwar arrived at Kakching after returning from Kolkata today. Speaking to media persons by the sideline of the rally, M Rameshwar said that a large number of citizens belonging to Kakching AC and some other Assembly segments have been denied the chance to contest the Lok Sabha election for the past many years.

Although these constituencies belong to Outer Manipur Parliamentary Constituency, citizens residing within these Assembly segments cannot contest the Lok Sabha election. Rameshwar said that his first priority would be to enable people of these Assembly segments contest the Lok Sabha election. ‘My other primary agenda are opening job avenues to unemployed youth of Kakching AC, proper implementation of social security schemes and ensuring rapid development’, he said.

‘Allotment of BJP ticket to me which is the largest political party in the world has silenced all the baseless propaganda floated by rival political parties’, he continued. Accusing the Congress of scheming to create misunderstanding among BJP workers, Rameshwar said that people would give a befitting reply in the election.

Dr Nimaichand promises BJP Govt

The Sangai Express

Imphal, February 05 2017: Former Minister and BJP Manipur Pradesh spokesman Dr Nimaichand has exuded confidence that BJP would secure majority in the Assembly election and form a corruption-free and transparent Government in the State. Speaking to media persons at Major Khul today, Dr Nimaichand Luwang said that BJP’s electioneering activities have been intensified with the names of 58 candidates already announced.

BJP will score a thumping victory in the forthcoming Assembly election and it would be able to deliver good governance to the people of Manipur, Dr Nimaichand claimed. He said that he would take pro-active role in the party’s efforts to ensure victory of as many BJP candidates as possible. Notably, Dr Nimaichand has been already named BJP candidate in Andro AC. He recalled that he was elected to the Manipur Legislative Assembly from Wangkhem AC five times.

Bhabananda predicts BJP win in 4 States

The Sangai Express

Imphal, February 05 2017: BJP Manipur Pradesh president K Bhabananda has stated that BJP would be victorious in four States out of five which are going to polls this year. Speaking at a political conference held at PAYA Ground, Kairang today, Bhabananda claimed that BJP would form Governments in Manipur, Goa, Uttarakhand and Uttar Pradesh but the party may face neck to neck fight in Punjab with Congress.

Except for rampant corruption, Congress did nothing for the State even though they were in power during the past 15 years, said Bhabananda. The Congress Government never worked to resolve any issue in time and this is testified by the ongoing economic blockade, Bhabananda added.

BJP candidate in Heingang AC Nongthombam Biren accused the Congress party of following policies with a sinister design to pave way for disintegration of Manipur. Saying that Congress party is only good at rhetoric when it comes to safeguarding the integrity of Manipur, Biren appealed to all the people to be wary of Congress.

‘Snubbed’ BJP ‘candidates’ cry foul, quit party

The Sangai Express

Imphal, February 05 2017: A number of intending BJP candidates have come out against the party, alleging that the party indulged in corruption in the process of ticket allotment and have resigned from the membership of the party. Former MLA Doukhomang Khongsai who was an intending BJP candidate from Saikul(ST) AC today announced his resignation from BJP and said that he will fight the election on other party’s ticket.

Speaking to mediapersons today, Doukhomang stated that he will soon join other political party and contest in the ensuing State Assembly election. He further said that ever since he joined BJP three years back, he had been visiting every villages under Saikul(ST) AC and urging the people to support the party and its principles. However, BJP allotted the party ticket to an individual who has, till now, done nothing for the welfare of the party and the people.

‘BJP’s decision shows that the party is biased and corrupt in nature. Despite the Centre’s assurance of allotting party tickets to those intending candidates who are sincere and hard working, BJP as a party has failed to keep its promises. As such, I have decided to quit the party,’ he added.

Allegations against Wangkhem MLA rebuffed

The Sangai Express

Imphal, February 05 2017: Secretary of Wangkhem Block Mahila Congress Committee, Khoirom ongbi Shanti has clarified that all the allegations levelled against MLA of Wangkhem Assembly Constituency regarding an election related incident that took place on February 2 are baseless.

Addressing a press meet at Manipur Press Club here today, Shanti claimed that around 100 workers of intending candidate Yumnam Nabachandra attacked members of the committee on their way to attend a flag hoisting ceremony at the residence of Yumnam Umakanta Singh, ex-Councillor of Thoubal Municipal Council at Thoubal Kiyam Awang Leikai on February 2.

She alleged that they were stopped by workers of Nabachandra at Heibong Leirak Keithel who started damaging vehicles belonging to them by pelting stones and hard objects. In the unprovoked attack, one woman hailing from Charangpat suffered injuries on her head. She was admitted to Shija Hospital for treatment, she said.

Strongly condemning the attack, Shanti wondered what will be the condition of the constituency if such candidate is elected as the representative. Clarifying that the Wangkhem MLA has nothing to do with the incident, she appealed to the authorities concerned to look into the matter and take up action against the attackers at the earliest.

Keba lashes out at Congress

Imphal Free Press
IMPHAL | Feb 5

After attacking BJP central leaders, Sapam Kunjakishore (Keba) of the North East India Development Party (NEIDP) is now training his guns on the Okram Ibobi Singh led state government. He said, during the 15 year tenure of Congress the government has been concentrating on accumulating personal wealth instead of taking up welfare and development activities.

Addressing a one day political convention held today at the residence of NEIDP Lilong candidate Sheikh Kheiruddin at Chingkham leikai, Lilong, the party spokesperson said, NEIDP is not hungry for power but need to be in power to serve the people. He said that the party is committed to avail free education for all children in the Lilong constituency once the party in power.

He further committed to establish higher educational institutions in most deprived identified areas in the constituency which has many shortfalls in education sector. Providing means of livelihood to educated unemployed youths, facilitating special health care provision for elderly people, special program for destitute and helpless women and widows are among the party priority list, Keba assured.

A Biren and workers abandons BJP

Imphal Free Press

A Biren Singh, an active member of the BJP along with his supporters has today resigned from the party citing alleged partiality in issuing ticket to intending candidates for the ensuing state assembly election. Informing the media during a press meet held at his residence today, Biren said he is still gearing up to fight the election. Though it is still not clear from which party he is going to contest.

Talking to the media, secretary of BJP Jiribam Mandol P Ibocha Singh said that the recent declaration of BJP tickets for the upcoming Assembly election of Jiribam assembly seems to be shrouded with corruption. Such questionable practice by the party leaders has compelled mass resignation of workers of the Jiribam unit, he added.

Thereafter, the pratinidi of BJP Jiribam unit Kh Haridash Singh exuded confidence that A Biren will win the Jiribam seat even if he fights the election from a different party.

Curbs on election activity

Imphal Free Press
IMPHAL | Feb 5

A people’s meeting of Muslim community of Wangkhem A/C was convened at Yairipok Singa in relation to the upcoming state assembly election. The meeting was organised by All Muslim Welfare Association (AMWA).

According to a press release issued by AMWA the meeting decided that all the welfare activities of the Muslim community under Wangkhem A/C should be undertaken under the initiatives of AMWA. They further decided to ban any unwanted activities that may hamper the unity of the state and warned the peoples of the A/C not to indulge in social feast, attending meeting, and sitting late in the name of Meira Paibi in relation to the State election.

Ibobi is Phumdi ‘chor’: Ram Madhav

Imphal Free Press
IMPHAL | Feb 5

Electoral diatribe has touched a higher pitch among political parties with election fever rising in the state. BJP national general secretary, Ram Madhav has today called, state Chief Minister, O Ibobi as ‘phumdi chor’. The BJP leader was speaking during a press meet held at Hotel Classic Grande, here today.

Continuing his attack on the Chief Minister and his council of ministers, Ram alleged the Congress led government is siphoning off 90 percent of the developmental funds of the state. Manipur is one among three least under developed states in India, he said. He further charged Congress leaders are either directly or indirectly connected with criminal activities, adding that they are in involved in drug rackets.

He said that in 2012 election, Congress in their manifesto had promised employment for the educated youths, but in 2017 unemployment in the state has increased triple fold, to more than 8 lakhs. He charged that maximum of the developmental projects have remained incomplete. Road connectivity, medical facility, education system and public distribution system are in worst condition. Ram, flexing his party’s muscle claimed that if BJP comes to power it will bring a corruption-free state and bring back the lost glory of ‘land of jewel’.

 Later in the evening the national BJP leader attended one day political conference at Ima Ibema Araileima community hall of Khwai Lalambung Makhong, organised by the Thangmeiband mandal.

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