Congress confident of fourth term in Manipur

Imphal: The Congress is confident of returning to power for the fourth time on the trot in Manipur, riding the growing wave of anger over the ongoing economic blockade and apprehension about the state’s territorial integrity.

“We will win more than a two-thirds majority in the state. The people have understood very well the game plan of the BJP. They are hand in gloves with those who have called this blockade and are a threat to the territorial integrity of Manipur,” state Congress spokesperson K H Joykishan told PTI.

Polling for the 60-seat Manipur Assembly will take place in two phases on March 4 and March 8. It seems that the Congress, which is vying for a fourth term under the leadership of Chief Minister Okram Ibobi Singh, has been able to shed the baggage of anti-incumbency after its one-and-a-half decade rule, marred by allegations of fake encounters, corruption and human rights violation.

The party has tried to make the economic blockade and threat to the territorial integrity of Manipur, if the BJP comes to power, major poll issues.

Even in June last year, with the resurgence of the BJP in the state and several Congress leaders joining it, it looked like the Congress was going to have a tough time in the 2017 Assembly polls.

But with the decision of creation of seven new districts in the landlocked state by bifurcating the existing ones and upgradation of Sadar Hills to a full-fledged district, the Ibobi Singh government has turned the tables on the BJP and seems to have killed three birds with one stone.

Besides partly dividing the hill tribals by upgrading Sadar Hills to a full-fledged district, the economic blockade by the United Naga Council has only helped the Congress consolidate the dominant Meitei (Manipuri) community by cashing on their anger with the three month-long blockade.

Thirdly, the Congress’s repeated allegations that the BJP was hand in gloves with the Nagas and the Centre not disclosing the details of the framework agreement with NSCN (IM) have also helped Congress sharpen its attack on the BJP that it (BJP) will compromise the territorial integrity of Manipur.