NEW DELHI: The Congress in Manipur will face its toughest challenge in 15 years when the State goes to the first of the two-phase polls on Saturday.
This election will see the Congress facing a resurgent opposition in the BJP, unlike the time when Chief Minister Okram Ibobi took over in 2002.
That the goings for the Congress will not be easy this election was evident when half a dozen party biggies- include N Biren Singh and Y Erabot Singh-switched their loyalty to the BJP.
The Congress has also been weakened by the defection of its leaders to non-BJP parties.Its fate will be more or less decided on Saturday itself.
Twenty- nine of the 38 constituencies going to polls in the first phase lie in the Imphal Valley, which accounts for 40 seats.
The Congress has set its sights on these seats where the Meiteis form a large majority.
The fact that the BJP is serious about Manipur this time was known when its leader Ram Madhav rushed to Imphal on the day Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal took oath. The party has also promised to expose corruption that allegedly took place under Ibobi’s regime.