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Congress releases first list of 40 candidates for Manipur Assembly polls

Manipur Congress released its first list of 40 candidates on Saturday. MPCC vice-president Kh Devabrata said Congress is likely to field around 55 candidates so as to sacrifice some of the seats in the “larger interest of other non-BJP parties”. 

Written by Jimmy Leivon | Imphal |
Updated: January 22, 2022 11:40:30 pm
Okram Ibobi SinghWhile the party is yet to announce its CM face, MPCC vice-president Kh Devabrata said the election will be fought under the leadership of Okram Ibobi Singh, who is the CLP leader. (File photo)

The Congress on Saturday released a list of 40 candidates for the Manipur Assembly elections scheduled to be held in two phases on February 27 and March 3.

Former Manipur chief minister Okram Ibobi Singh and his son Okram Surjakumar Singh are among those named in the first list. Ibobi Singh will contest from his home constituency Thoubal, and Surjakumar Singh will contest from Khangabok.

The Congress has fielded P Saratchandra Singh against Chief Minister N Biren Singh, of the BJP, in Heingang constituency. Saratchandra was a Trinamool Congress candidate in the 2017 Assembly elections in the state. On that occasion, he had lost to Biren Singh with a margin of 1,206 votes in the same constituency.

Only two women were named in the first list. They are A K Mirabai, the sitting MLA of Patsoi, and Th Thoibi Devi, who has been fielded from the Oinam constituency.

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The Congress has not yet to named any candidates for four constituencies where its sitting MLAs have either switched over to other parties or been suspended. These include Bishnupur constituency, where sitting MLA Govindas Konthoujam resigned and joined the BJP, and Tipaimukh constituency where MLA Chaltonlien Amo also joined BJP. In Tengnoupal seat, MLA D Korungthang had joined the Naga People’s Front (NPF), and in Thangmeiband, the Congress suspended its sitting MLA K Joykishan on disciplinary grounds.

Kh Devabrata, the vice president of Manipur Pradesh Congress Committee (MPCC), said the party would release a second list of around 12 candidates at the end of this month.

Hinting at a possible pre-poll alliance, Devabrata said the Congress is likely to field around 55 candidates to the 60-member Assembly so as to sacrifice some seats in the larger interests of other non-BJP parties. Nonetheless, he expressed his confidence that the Congress would emerge as the single-largest party.

While the party has not yet announced its CM face, Devabrata said the Congress would fight the election under the leadership of Okram Ibobi Singh.

Congress’s first list comes a day after the first meeting of the BJP’s Manipur ticket committee, held in Imphal in the presence of central leaders. To finalise the BJP’s list, CM Biren Singh left for Delhi on Saturday. The BJP is likely to announce its first list by January 26, a party spokesperson said.

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