One day after the Election Commission announced a two-phase schedule for election to the Manipur state assembly, senior BJP leader and its North-East Democratic Alliance (NEDA) convenor Himanta Biswa Sarma said on Thursday that the BJP would not only win the Manipur election, but also have governments in all the Northeastern states by 2019.
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“We are going to win the Manipur election. They (Congress) are trying to give an impression based on the on-going blockade there. But they (Congress) have failed to read the minds of the people. It is the BJP that will win the Manipur election,” Sarma, who is also Number 2 in the BJP-led government of Sarbananda Sonowal in Assam, said.
Sarma also said that all the states of the Northeastern region would, sooner or later, have BJP governments. “I think all the Northeastern states will have BJP governments by 2019,” Sarma, who played a crucial role in ensuring the massive victory of the BJP-led alliance in Assam within six months of his quitting the Congress, said. Election in Manipur will be held in two phases, on March 4 and 8.
The Congress meanwhile has claimed that it would win the Manipur assembly election for a record fourth consecutive time. “We are going to win the Manipur election for the fourth time in a row. The people (of Manipur) know who is behind the blockade there,” AICC general secretary CP Joshi said. Joshi was in Guwahati on Thursday to review the party’s position in the Northeastern region with presidents of the seven PCCs.
In Imphal, state BJP president Kshetrimayum Bhabananda Singh and former president Thounaojam Chaoba Singh said the party would win the Manipur election and form the next government in the state.
“We are fully prepared for the election. We are confident that we will win 30 to 35 of the general seats and 10 to 12 of the seats reserved for the Schedule Tribes. The people want a change, and the BJP is their only choice,” they said in a joint press conference in Imphal.
Meanwhile, four non-Congress non-BJP parties have feared that free and fair election would not be possible without early lifting of the ongoing economic blockade. Leaders of the Manipur Democratic Peoples’ Front, Janata Dal (United), Janata Dal (Secular) and Aam Aadmi Party of Manipur also alleged that that United Naga Council (UNC), which had called the blockade, was a frontal organisation of NSCN(IM), which is currently in dialogue with the BJP government at the Centre.