Manipur polls: Congress may just find it tough this time

With a population of 0.26 crore and 60 Assembly seats, the state has seen the Congress government in power for the last 15 years with Okram Ibobi Singh in chief ministerial role since 2002.

Written by Adrija Roychowdhury | New Delhi | Updated: March 9, 2017 7:35 pm
manipur, manipur polls, manipur assembly elections 2017, manipur elections, Okram ibobi Singh, irom sharmila, manipur congress, india news, latest news Manipur chief minister Okram Ibobi Singh (Express Photo)

The North Eastern state of Manipur is scheduled to go to polls in two phases, first on March 4 and then on March 8. With a population of 0.26 crore and 60 Assembly seats, the state has seen the Congress government in power for the last 15 years with Okram Ibobi Singh in chief ministerial role since 2002.

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Geographically placed at the hinterlands of the country, Manipur has witnessed a harrowing history since independence that continues to plague its present in the form of internal disputes, issues of territorial integrity, economic blockades and of course the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act. However, despite the longstanding turmoil in the state, people of Manipur have a tendency to vote the same party to power, as has been the case in the past 15 years.

This year however, might be a challenge for the Congress to retain its position due to the inroads made by the Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) in the state and also as a result of the Manipur government’s recent decision to bifurcate several of the hill districts in the state leading to widescale grievances, particularly among the tribes who fear the bifurcation would result in encroachment of their ancestral lands. Manipur in the past few months saw the imposition of economic blockades by the United Naga Council (UNC) as a mark of protest against the bifurcation of districts followed by extreme shortages of essential commodities and violence that crippled the common man. Adding to the already existing woes was the Centre’s move to demonetise Rs 500 and 1,000.

While the Congress and the BJP are the major players in the state, the other face to look out for, is that of Irom Sharmila who broke her 16-year long fast against the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) in Manipur. In October last year she formed the ‘People’s Resurgence and Justice Alliance’ which would be contesting in the upcoming elections, holding up strongly the issue of withdrawal of armed forces from the state.

Date of voting
Phase one- March 4
Phase two- March 8

Number of seats in the Legislative Assembly- 60
Ruling party- Congress
Chief Minister- Okram Ibobi Singh
Main candidates from opposition- N Biren Singh (BJP), Irom Sharmila (PRJA)

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  1. J
    Jay Chan
    Jan 6, 2017 at 5:24 am
    Poorly researched article. These intellectuals think sitting in thei ac officws they understan Manipur. This woman Adrija seems to habe read a few articles on the internet or read quora and made her own article.
    1. D
      Jan 6, 2017 at 3:10 pm
      A very bias article, we the people knows what is and is not.
      1. Mahender Goriganti
        Jan 5, 2017 at 4:09 pm
        Congress is dead party but Porkistan paper still sticks with its promotional propaa..
        1. S
          Jan 5, 2017 at 11:49 am
          On the contrary, Congress govt. will strengthened its hold with the pority it received through unexpected chain of events triggered by NSCN (IM) backed United Naga Council's biased and prolonged political campaign inflicting artificial turmoil in the w of Manipur with already volatile economic chaos by demonetization resulting in petrol prices shooting up to 300 rs/liter, cooking gas 250/cylinder to name a few. This current turmoil not only angered the valley-based multi-cultural mes, but also hill-based tribal potion. So, this time mandate will be clear that violence and coercive tactics wnt succeed against development and secular minded policies of govt. This will be litmus test for NSCN (IM) and its sister organizations like UNC whose sole motive is to disintegrate the already one of the smallest state on communal lines to meet their selfish ends through false propaa. Time will tell.