Despite fractured predictions of exit polls, BJP, Congress confident of forming government in Manipur

Manipur witnessed a hung Assembly in the previous polls in 2017, and this time too most of the exit polls' predictions indicate another hung house.
Manipur CM N Biren Singh (Photo | PTI)
Manipur CM N Biren Singh (Photo | PTI)

IMPHAL: Despite fractured predictions by most of the exit polls on Monday, the two dominant political parties in Manipur – the ruling BJP and the main opposition Congress – are confident of forming the government in the northeastern state after the declaration of Assembly election results on March 10.

Manipur witnessed a hung Assembly in the previous polls in 2017, and this time too most of the exit polls' predictions indicate another hung house.

Claiming that his party is confident to form the government in Manipur, state Congress spokesman K.H. Debabrata said that the ruling BJP has used militants and other unethical methods to retain power, but the people of the state have given their verdict against the ruling party.

"The BJP government and its leaders turned Manipur into 'Moneypur'. During the elections, the BJP leaders utilised underground militants, goons and muscle power. The BJP government at the Centre and in the state gave Rs 16 crore to the militants just before the polls to influence the voters," the Congress leader told IANS.

Union Minister and BJP's Manipur election in-charge Pratima Bhowmik said there is no doubt that the BJP is coming to power in Manipur for a second term with absolute majority.

"People of Manipur have become fed up with the Congress. Their mis-governance for many years encouraged the militant outfits to grow. Blockades and bandhs (shut down) were regular affairs during the Congress regime. Hence, the people of the state this time rejected the party whole-heartedly," Bhowmik said.

Manipur Chief Minister N. Biren Singh had earlier told IANS that the BJP would get at least 40 seats in the 60-member house.

Another Manipur in-charge of the BJP and the party's national spokesperson, Sambit Patra, tweeted: "The BJP is set to come back with a firm majority in the states we were in the govt - Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Goa and Manipur. Our focus area was majorly empowerment - of women, youth, poor and needy and farmers among other sectors."

The leaders of the National People's Party (NPP), BJP's estranged ally, and Janata Dal (United), are also claiming that they would play a vital role in government formation. The two parties fielded 38 candidates each this time.

NPP general secretary for Manipur, Sheikh Noorul Hassan, said that in the previous Assembly elections, the party had secured four seats, but this time it will bag more than 20 seats to become a formidable political force in Manipur.

The BJP had secured 21 seats in the 60-member Assembly in the last polls in 2017 and wrested power for the first time after stitching together a coalition government with the support of four NPP MLAs, four Naga People's Front (NPF) members, the lone Trinamool Congress MLA and an Independent member.

However, this time the BJP, NPP and NPF are contesting separately and have fielded candidates against each other.

Congress, which governed the state for 15 consecutive years (2002-2017) and emerged as the single largest party by securing 28 seats in 2017, this time formed a Manipur Progressive Secular Alliance (MPSA) after forging a pre-poll alliance with four Left parties and Janata Dal-Secular.

Political observers said the outcome of the Assembly elections would have important ramifications for Meghalaya and Nagaland, the two northeastern states which along with Tripura would go to the polls early next year.

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