GUWAHATI: The record voter turnout of 86 percent in the first of the two-phase Manipur elections on March 4 instilled some confidence in the state unit of BJP as it has now concluded to form the next government in Manipur.
“This was a historic voter turnout. Never before had the Northeast witnessed such a high voter turnout. This is, probably, also the highest in the country. The BJP is thankful to the people of Manipur for voting out Congress,” BJP leader and Assam minister Himanta Biswa Sarma, who is also the saffron party’s master strategist, told reporters in Imphal.
Asked about the BJP’s chief ministerial face, Sarma said the party legislators would sit together on March 12 to take a call on that, hinting again at the ‘absolute’ victory of BJP in the elections, the results of which will be declared on March 11.
Calling Chief Minister Okram Ibobi Singh a “dictator”, Sarma, who is also the convenor of non-Congress North East Democratic Alliance (NEDA), said the people of Manipur had already taken a decision to vote out the chief minister’s alleged dictatorship.
“We are confident of forming the government. As such, we are planning how we can work for the betterment of the State in the coming years,” he said.
The BJP had drawn the ire of Congress by putting up advertisements in local dailies a day ahead of the first phase polls but Sarma claimed the act was not a violation of model code of conduct.
“Had Mr Ibobi constructed the roads, there would not have been any need for us to put up the advertisements,” he said.
Meanwhile, Sarma promised that the BJP government would probe the cases of alleged extra-judicial killings by the Central Bureau of Investigation. Manipur reportedly has some 1,500 such cases. He claimed that a police officer, close to the establishment, was a suspect in a case of fake encounter and that the cop’s interim anticipatory bail had been rejected by the court.
Thirty-eight constituencies had gone to polls in the phase of elections in Manipur and the second phase of polls will be held in the remaining 22 constituencies on March 8.