The BJP is contesting the Manipur election, which will virtually witness a fight between the Congress and the saffron party, without a chief ministerial candidate and allies, but says its face is Narendra Modi. Although the party has not announced a chief ministerial candidate, its state president K Bhabananda Singh said, “The BJP’s face for Manipur election is Narendra Modi and his good governance. Why we didn’t put up a chief ministerial candidate, it is for our central leadership to answer. May be there are too many leaders.”.
The Assembly polls in the state will virtually witness a fight between the BJP and the Congress although some smaller parties are also in the fray.
Talking to PTI here today, Singh exuded confidence about his party’s poll prospect, saying, “The BJP came to power in Assam after 15 years of Congress misrule. In Manipur too, we will come to power with more than two-thirds majority.”
BJP is fighting the poll without its allies like the National People’s Party (NPP), the Naga People’s Front (NPF) and the Lok Janshakti Party (LJP).
The NPP has fielded candidates in 21 of 60 seats in the Assembly while the LJP has put up candidates in 11 seats. The NPF is contesting in 15 seats.
“We are a part of the NDA at the Centre but regional parties have their own aspirations and agenda and the BJP is very much confident that it can make it alone,” said Vivek Raj Wangkhem, the General Secretary of the NPP.
The state BJP chief also said, “The alliance is at the Centre. In the state, the political equations are different. So our strategies are also different.” The Congress, however, described it as an attempt to “fool” the masses.
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“This is nothing but a ploy to fool the masses that the BJP is fighting against the NPF. The people here know very well that the BJP is hand in glove with the UNC and both are behind the economic blockade in the state,” the state Congress General Secretary Vidyapati Sejam said.
The political equation in the state has changed with the ruling Congress deciding to bifurcate seven districts and upgrade Sadar hills to a district, which led to an economic blockade by the United Naga Council (UNC).
Almost 65 per cent of Manipur’s population lives in Imphal Valley dominated by the non-tribal Meiteis who are agitated over the three-month-long economic blockade.
Imphal Valley accounts for 40 of the total 60 seats which are crucial for any party to win, whereas the hills have 20 seats. Union minister and BJP leader in-charge of Manipur Prakash Javadekar told PTI, “The Congress knew it would lose the polls and that is why it divided the districts to create an ethnic frenzy and divert the attention from its misrule and failure.”
Political observers say that the BJP being an alliance partner of the ruling Democratic Alliance of Nagaland with the NPF has not gone down well with the people of the valley in Manipur.
The framework agreement between the NSCN (IM) and the Centre has also put the saffron party in a difficult position as the Congress has launched a campaign that if the BJP comes to power in the state, it will compromise with the territorial integrity of Manipur.
Sensing that such campaign might affect the BJP’s prospect, Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh, during his poll campaign here, had said, “Canards are being spread that if the BJP comes to power the territorial integrity of the state will be under threat as the central government has done a framework agreement with NSCN (IM).
“This is absolutely baseless. I want to reassure you here that the central government and the BJP will never compromise.”
Polling for the 60-seat Manipur Assembly will take place in two phases on March 4 and March 8.