Chaos in Cong Bhavan, scribe suffer police wrath
Source: The Sangai Express

Imphal, January 13: Even as momentum for the Ninth State Assembly is gaining ground with each progressing day, Congress Bhavan located at the BT Road today witnessed chaotic scenes with party workers and loyalists of candidate aspirants charging leaders of Manipur Pradesh Congress Committee (MPCC) of being partisan.

Police resorted to baton charge to disperse the agitated mob resulting in a reporter of the Imphal Free Press daily facing brutal crackdown of the security personnel.

The IFP reporter Nameirakpam Bishwajit was hospitalised for treatment of the injuries he suffered in the police lathi-charge while trying to cover report of the agitation that broke out at Congress Bhavan over allotment of party ticket this afternoon.

All Manipur Working Journalists' Union immediately convened a meeting at Manipur Press Club in this connection.

However, the matter was subsequently resolved after an understanding with the Imphal West District Police during a joint meeting.

Among others the agitated Congress workers accused MPCC leaders of favouring recent entries of politicians into the Congress organisation at the expense of loyal individuals who had been working for the ticket and expecting party leaders to positively response through allocation of Congress tickets to contest the ensuing polls.

Tension had been brewing within the Congress organisation for the past few days after names of the first phase probable candidates were reported in the media.

Under the prevailing situation official announcement of the candidates had been kept in abeyance to avoid embarrassing outcome.

Information culled by the press suggest that top MPCC functionaries had been avoiding office attendance owing to the tense situation and smouldering uncertainty.

It is worth mentioning that skirmishes which took place today was preceded by a similar situation yesterday when supporters of Khurai AC's Congress ticket aspirant Jogimohan stormed into the MPCC complex raising hue and cry demanding that none other than Jogimohan should be allotted party ticket.

The supporters pointing out that Jogimohan had been contesting the past few Assembly elections from Khurai AC as Congress nominee were vociferous that MPCC might favour individuals who had joined MPCC only some days back.

The incident was repeated today with a number of workers and sympathisers from WangjingTentha and Wangkhem ACs squatting at the gate of Congress Bhavan with banners opposing move to allot tickets to new entrants.

The development assumes significance as the venue is restricted to unauthorised entries after the MPCC reinforced presence of security personnel.

Trouble erupted when the slogan shouting workers and sympathisers of Wangjing-Tentha AC's Congress aspirant S Ibochoubi and Wangkhem's Dr Ibochouba Longjam demanded that Congress tickets be provided to the duo as they had been not only been associated with the Congress organisation for the last many years but is expecting positive gestures from the MPCC authorities.

Scuffle broke out after additional reinforcement of Imphal West district police arrived at Congress Bhavan to control the mob as the security personnel deployed there could not handle it.

Amidst the pandemonium and the attempt to oust the disgruntled workers, some unidentified persons apparently incensed with the Congress leaders pelted stones towards the crowd forcing police personnel to lathicharge the agitating workers in order to control the situation.

The infuriated workers asked the Congress leaders not to exercise corruption and nepotism in issuing tickets to aspiring candidates.

Asking as to how much money they (MPCC) want, they shouted against any attempt to issue tickets to individuals who had left the Congress party as well as to those who joined the party only recently after defecting from other political parties.

Even as the final list of candidates for the first phase of polls was brought today, MPCC leaders were unable to announce the candidates officially because of the prevailing situation.

It is reported that MPCC has returned the final list of candidates to AICC for consideration again.

In view of the unfolding scenario, the proposed visit of the two AICC officials to the State has been cancelled.

Meanwhile, a meeting of the party's Central Election Committee has been convened tomorrow to discuss certain disagreements in 15 Assembly constituencies of Imphal East, Imphal West and Bishnupur districts out of 29 Assembly segments which go to polls in February 14 in the second phase.

On the other hand, a statement issued by the secretary of Khurai Block Congress Committee cautioned that no election meetings for Congress party should be held in Khurai constituency without prior approval of the Khurai BCC.