Zee Media Bureau
New Delhi: Manipur has two parliamentary seats - Inner Manipur (valley districts) and Outer Manipur (hill districts). The main political forces in the state are the Congress (INC), the Manipur People`s Party (MPP) and the Communist party of India. The Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD), the Janata Dal (United), the Trinamool Congress, the Federal Party of Manipur and the Naga People`s Front, along with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP).
Two Congress candidates are in the fray - sitting MPs, Meinya Singh from inner Manipur constituency and Thangso Baite from outer Manipur segment. BJP`s candidates are - Gangmumei Kamei and RK Ranjan, former professors of Manipur University. Ranjan is contesting from inner Manipur constituency (Valley districts) and Kamei from outer Manipur constituency (Hill districts).
In the run up to the polls, both the national parties wooed the electorate in the Northeast state. Whereas Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi, though avoiding a direct reply on withdrawal of AFSPA from Manipur, said, while addressing a rally, in the state that insurgency problem there like in Assam could be solved through discussions, devolution of power and love, BJP`s prime ministerial candidate candidate Narendra Modi while addressing a rally in Imphal in February 08 lashed out at the Centre, especially the Congress, for failing to ensure the development of the Northeast region and also for failing to address the issues of insurgency and drug-trafficking.
Modi also reminded the people in Manipur that BJP leader and former PM of India Atal Bihari Vajpayee had taken the step in creating a separate ministry for the Northeastern region (Ministry of DONER - Development of North East Region) and promised that if voted to power in the Centre his party would work towards developing the potential of herbal industry, horticulture and agro-processing industries in the state. The BJP has won inner Manipur Lok Sabha seat in the past - since 1995, till it lost to the Congress in 2004.
As per some exit polls, the incumbent government may win both the seats in Manipur. The Manipur Pradesh Congress Committee left no stones unturned to highlight the proper implementation of welfare policies by the UPA government among the electorate.
And if one were to take the whole of Northeast into consideration then the Congress when compared to the BJP does not have much presence in the region. The Northeast region comprising of more than 400 ethnic groups, has 25 Lok Sabha seats of which Congress-led UPA has 21. The BJP has four Lok Sabha members in Assam but no elected representatives in other states of the region.
In the last Assembly elections in Manipur in 2012, the Congress won hands down by defeating the Naga People`s Front and the Manipur People`s Party, getting a two third majority and winning 42 out of 60 constituencies under its belt. Trinamool Congress won 7 seats and the MPP won 4. The present Congress government is in its third term as the ruling party in Manipur with Okram Ibobi Singh as the Chief Minister.