Chapter 38

No work charge against Erabot

Imphal Free Press
IMPHAL| Feb 18

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

Blockade giving adverse impact on Naga talks

Imphal Free Press
IMPHAL | Feb 18

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

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

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

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

No post poll alliance: Bhavananda

Imphal Free Press
IMPHAL | Feb 18

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

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

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

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

18 candidates in fray

Imphal Free Press

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

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

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

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

Abolish dirty politics: NEIDP

Imphal Free Press
IMPHAL| Feb 18

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

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

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

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

VS Atem clarifies

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

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

BJP and Congress can never form a fair Govt: Doungel

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

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

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

Abolish VIP culture: BJP candidate Somatai Shaiza

The Sangai Express

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

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

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

Cong will retain power: Ngamthang

The Sangai Express

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

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

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

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

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

The Sangai Express / TNN

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Indira appointed Cong spokesperson

Imphal Free Press
IMPHAL | Feb 17

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

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

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

No CM candidate for BJP: Javadekar
IMPHAL | Feb 17

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

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

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

N Biren flays recruitment

Imphal Free Press
IMPHAL | Feb 17

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

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

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

‘BJP and Congress into disintegrating Manipur’

Imphal Free Press

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

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

Demonetisation hurt bad state industry: Govindas

Imphal Free Press
IMPHAL | Feb 17

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

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

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

The Sangai Express

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

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

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

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

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

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

‘CM took housing loan’

Imphal Free Press
IMPHAL | Feb 16

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

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


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

BJP lauds reopening of Sanjit case by CBI

Imphal Free Press
IMPHAL | Feb 16

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

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

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

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

More trouble for Henry

Imphal Free Press
IMPHAL | Feb 16

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

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

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

Imphal Free Press
THOUBAL | Feb 16

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

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

NPP hopeful of an emphatic win

The Sangai Express

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

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

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

PRJA takes rally case to ECI

The Sangai Express

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

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

Sharmila appeals on behalf of fiance

The Sangai Express

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

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

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

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

Rahul Karmakar & Sobhapati Samom
Hindustan Times, Churachandpur

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

BJP succumbs to UGs, charges Tongmang

Imphal Free Press
IMPHAL | Feb 14

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

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

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

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

Ibomcha rebuts Ram Madhav’s statement

Imphal Free Press
IMPHAL | Feb 14

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

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

12 hurt in election related scuffle

The Sangai Express

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

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

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

18 candidate file nomination in Kangpokpi

Imphal Free Press

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

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

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

JCILPS says no to all non-local candidates

The Sangai Express

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

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

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

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

Poll tempo missing in Manipur

Newmai News/Assam Tribune

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Sangai Express

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Why no potable water supply even after 15 years: Javadekar

The Sangai Express

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

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

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

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

BJP Govt is a forgone conclusion: Joy

The Sangai Express

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

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

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

16 candidates file papers; Phungzathang launches self in NPP avatar

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

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

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

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

Behring quits BJP

The Sangai Express

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

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

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

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

Tamang to contest as Independent

Imphal Free Press
IMPHAL | Feb 13

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

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

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

Youngest candidate

Imphal Free Press
THOUBAL | Feb 13

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

Guv urged to stop Cong ‘hooliganism’

Imphal Free Press
IMPHAL | Feb 13

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

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

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

Gaikhangam files papers amidst protests

Imphal Free Press
IMPHAL | Feb 13

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

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

Voting awareness concert

Imphal Free Press
IMPHAL | Feb 13

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

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

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

Maoist lambast Congress govt

Imphal Free Press
IMPHAL | Feb 13

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

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

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

Sharmila divulges name of BJP morcha convenor

Imphal Free Press
Sharmila is lying: Ram Madhav

IMPHAL | Feb 13

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

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

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

‘Sharmila is lying,’ Madhav said.

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

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

Defeat Congress and BJP at all cost: D Raja

Imphal Free Press
IMPHAL | Feb 13

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

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

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

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

Three former police officers in fray in Manipur

The Hindu

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

Prakash Javadekar confident BJP will form ministry in Manipur

IANS /Zee News
February 13, 2017

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

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

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

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

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

Manipur CM O Ibobi Singh is communal, alleges UNC

By Bikash Singh
Economic Times

Feb 12, 2017

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

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

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

Ibobi dares NSCN(IM) to balkanise Manipur

Imphal Free Press
IMPHAL | Feb 12

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

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

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

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

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

LJP second list

Imphal Free Press
IMPHAL | Feb 12

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

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

Bandh free Manipur: NEIDP

Imphal Free Press
IMPHAL| Feb 12

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

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

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

Imphal Free Press
IMPHAL | Feb 12

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

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

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

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

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

NLC resolves to moderate election

Imphal Free Press
IMPHAL | Feb 12

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

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

Unlawful tag political stunt, says N Biren

IMPHAL| Feb 12

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

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

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

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

Imphal Times

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

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

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

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

BJP and Congress likely to have straight fight in Singjamei AC

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

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

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

BJP gears up campaign at Khangabok

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

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

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

Shifting poll equations

Imphal Free Press editorial
13 Feb 2017

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

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

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

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

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