Imphal: Even as Manipur`s ruling Congress
appears on course to retain power, the opposition alliance is
hoping for an upset win relying on the support from BJP and
The opposition People`s Democratic Front (PDF) made up
of Manipur`s People Party (MPP), Nationalist Congress Party
(NCP), CPI(M) and JD(U) expect to garner at least 29 out of
the 60 assembly seats, two short of majority, and then hopes
to call up the support from BJP and CPI with whom NPP and NCP
have arrived at separate understandings.
NCP general secretary and former Lok Sabha Speaker Purno
A Sangma claimed that the party will win at least 15 of the 22
seats where it is contesting while NPP president Nimachand
Luwang said his party will bag ten seats.
JD(U) expects to see four of its five hopefuls returning
to the assembly, its state unit party president M Tombi said.
Although the opposition has not yet spelt out its common
minimum programme, withdrawal of controversial Armed Forces
Special Powers Act (AFSPA) and providing security to people
will feature as main issues this time during the hustings.
Luwang says the opposition will bank on the alleged
"failure of the Congress Government" in protecting the people
from the frequent economic blockades launched by the
organisation in Nagaland demanding the "so-called greater
Nagalim (Greater Nagaland)".
"The alliance has assured disturbance-free journey in
the inter-state routes through the setting up of a highway
protection force," he said.
The Opposition front has promised to revive the old
Cachar road to Tongjeimaril, which will help reduce the impact
of blockades which result in immense hardship with prices of a
litre of petrol shooting up to as high as Rs 200 and a
kilogram of potato at Rs 90.
Meanwhile, electioneering has so far been low key with
banners, loud speakers and crowded public meetings missing
from the election scene.
This is a result of the strict instructions given by the
Election Commission to candidates not to resort to any means
which would violate the EC directive.
State Election Commission sources said here that the
election expenditure of each candidate has been fixed to the
maximum of Rs eight lakh while hotlines have been opened for
the public to report any act of omission or commission on the
part of the hopefuls.
Another feature of the electioneering in Manipur is that
while candidates and ministers are on their campaign trail,
the powerful civil society has taken up the role of being the
Civil society organisations are taking to the streets of
Manipur to choose their "Right Candidate."
Holding festoons reading "Towards public issues, vote for
life and dignity and a resurgent Manipur" and "Formulate
self-reliance with economic policy," civil society activists
march through the busy thoroughfares of the capital town and
other constituencies to increase awareness among the voters.
"Let us decide by ourselves", says the convenor of
People`s Campaign for Assembly Election, Manipur (Pace-M-2012)