Former Chief Minister of Manipur Okram Ibobi Singh has opined that the outcome of the recently concluded Lok Sabha election would have been a different story had the election been “free and fair” particularly in hill districts of Manipur.
The former Chief Minister was responding to queries on the failure of the Congress party to secure a win of the two parliamentary seats of Manipur.
He claimed that there were many reasons why Congress could not win even a single seat and the election not being “free and fair” was one of them.
“People are more aware of the kind of election held in the hill districts. It’s more like a selection there. Those groups who have got persuading powers usually win,” said Ibobi Singh.
In the inner parliamentary constituency, INC candidate was defeated by rival BJP candidate with a margin of 17,755 votes. However, in the outer parliamentary constituency (hills) the INC candidate under-performed securing third place. The outer seat was secured by Naga People’s Front (NPF) candidate defeated his rival BJP candidate by a margin of 73,782 votes.
Singh contended that it was almost impossible for any of the constituencies to cast around 90 per cent of their total votes.
“I don’t think there are enough voters in any of the constituencies of Manipur to cast 85 to 90 per cent votes. Some of the voters might not be even genuine. Had the election been free and fair, the mandate of the people could have been clear,” added Singh. Nevertheless, Singh claimed that his party respected the mandate of people who are the authority.
Singh maintained that irrespective of having lost the election, Congress party will effectively play the role of constructive opposition. “Win or lose we have responsibility on our shoulder. We don’t have any personal grudge against any party. Our job is to ensure the welfare of the people,” observed Singh.
Manipur Pradesh Congress Committee (MPCC) president, had earlier, stated that the massive win of the BJP was “hard to believe”.