TODAY -

Election fever grips Manipur despite prevailing unrest

Dipak Kurmi *



As the state of Manipur grapples with an unprecedented crisis that has lasted for nearly a year, the political landscape is bracing itself for a crucial electoral battle. With over 200 lives lost, thousands of homes reduced to ashes, and a staggering 60,000 people displaced from their homes, the forthcoming elections to the Lok Sabha and the Outer Manipur Parliamentary Constituency are set to be a litmus test for the political parties vying for power amidst the chaos.

The BJP’s Gambit: Thounaojam Basanta Takes the Lead

After a series of failed negotiations with prominent figures like Chief Minister N Biren Singh, Rajya Sabha MP Leishemba Sanajaoba, and State BJP President A Sharda Devi, the Saffron Brigade has finally settled on Education Minister Thounaojam Basanta as their candidate for the Inner Manipur Parliamentary Constituency. Basanta’s candidacy is a calculated move by the BJP, banking on their current stronghold of 17 MLAs from the Meitei community in the valley region.

Congress’s Unconventional Choice: Akoijam Bimol, the Outsider

In a bold departure from tradition, the Congress party has opted for a rank outsider, Akoijam Bimol, as their candidate for the Inner Manipur Parliamentary Constituency.

Bimol, a professor at the prestigious Jawaharlal Nehru University in Delhi, has emerged as a vocal critic of the Indian state’s handling of the Manipur crisis, making his mark on television debates and social media. His famous byline, “the Indian state has totally failed in the state of Manipur,” resonates with many in the conflict-ridden state.

The Rise of the Underdogs: Thounaojam Maheswar and R.K. Samarendra

Thounaojam Maheswar, the Republican Party of India candidate, and R.K. Samarendra, the Manipuri movie star known as Kaiku, represent the underdogs in this high-stakes electoral battle. Both have gained prominence due to the ongoing crisis, with Maheswar making frequent trips to Delhi to meet with NDA leaders and engaging with internally displaced people and frontline fighters.

The Outer Manipur Parliamentary Constituency: A Delicate Balance

In the Outer Manipur Parliamentary Constituency, the Naga People’s Front (NPF) has dropped its sitting MP, Dr. Lorho, and instead fielded Timothy Zimik, a former Income Tax officer. The Congress party has chosen former MLA Alfred K. Arthur from the Tangkhul community, while Kho John, a former president of the All Naga Students’ Association in Manipur, is also in the fray.

Traditionally, the outcome of this seat is decided by the voters from the eight constituencies in the valley that form part of the outer parliamentary constituency, acting as a balancing factor.

The Kuki Community’s Strategic Move

In a significant development, the Kuki community has decided not to field a candidate in the forthcoming elections, likely supporting the NPF candidate as an overture to future machinations in their demand for a separate Kuki Land. The BJP, too, has chosen not to field a candidate for the outer seat, opting to support the NPF candidate instead.

A Turbulent Landscape: Challenges and Uncertainties

As the electioneering process gains momentum, the presence of over 10,000 firearms floating around in the region raises concerns about potential violence and disruptions. With the state mired in turmoil for nearly a year, with a dysfunctional administration unable to cope with the crisis, the upcoming elections are anything but ordinary.

The intellectuals and educated voters are expected to gravitate towards Bimol’s candidacy, drawn by his intellectual credentials and criticism of the state’s handling of the crisis. However, his lack of grassroots connect with the masses, apart from traditional Congress voters, may pose a challenge. On the other hand, Maheswar’s advantage lies in his direct engagement with ordinary people on the streets and in relief centers.

The BJP’s gambit rests on its current hold on power, leveraging its network of 17 MLAs from the Meitei community and the potential influence of being the ruling party. However, the party’s credibility has been called into question by the unabated crisis and its failure to restore peace and normalcy in the state.

As the campaign trail heats up, the state of Manipur finds itself at a crossroads, with the outcome of these elections holding profound implications for the resolution of the ongoing crisis and the future political landscape of the state. The voters’ choices will not Only determine the immediate fate of the contenders but also shape the trajectory of Manipur’s path towards peace and stability.


* Dipak Kurmi wrote this article for The Sangai Express
The writer can be reached at dipakkurmiglpltd(AT)gmail(DOT)com
This article was webcasted on 03 April 2024

* Comments posted by users in this discussion thread and other parts of this site are opinions of the individuals posting them (whose user ID is displayed alongside) and not the views of e-pao.net. We strongly recommend that users exercise responsibility, sensitivity and caution over language while writing your opinions which will be seen and read by other users. Please read a complete Guideline on using comments on this website.




LATEST IN E-PAO.NET
  • 80th Anniv- Battle of Kanglatongbi @UK
  • Violence in Manipur 2023-2024 : Timeline
  • Vir Chakra Ngangom Joydutta's bust unveiled
  • Hun - Thadou Cultural Festival : Gallery
  • "ST status for Meetei" at Singjamei
  • Election Eclipses: Ballad of Battle & Loss
  • Our voices are equal at the ballot box
  • Scientists of Manipur : Ngangkham Nimai
  • Urgent Call for Solidarity in Manipur
  • Meitei Nongsha #2 :: An Artwork
  • "ST status for Meetei" at Waikhong
  • About NPF-BJP-NPP alliance & why ?
  • World Veterinary Day, 2024
  • The heavy stake behind the LS polls
  • The politics of lying & deception
  • Sajibu Cheiraoba Chak Katpa #1 : Gallery
  • Hun-Thadou Cultural Fest @ Delhi: Report
  • Appeal to Parties & Candidates
  • "ST status for Meetei" at Wangoo
  • Establishment of community seed bank
  • Awareness Programme on new Criminal Laws
  • Make a right choice at the Lok Sabha election
  • Sajibu Cheiraoba: 1 occasion, 2 narratives #1
  • RIST talk-58 : Support systems of elderly
  • "ST status for Meetei" at Hiyanglam
  • Vote, do not boycott !
  • Lok Sabha election: A new dawn in politics ?
  • IIT-Guwahati Half Marathon report
  • Taking ST demand to the election ring
  • Lesson to be learnt from across border
  • Mirabai: Poised for Paris Olympics
  • Legal position for protection of environment
  • "ST status for Meetei" at Keisamthong
  • Heterocyclic compound & biochemical science
  • Inner, torn between two lovers
  • Certification Music Therapy Workshop
  • NOTA as a choice
  • Caesar's wife must be above suspicion
  • Descent of Radha-Krishna #29: Download
  • World Health Day 2024
  • "ST status for Meetei" at Pangantabi
  • The Power of Poppy - 26 :: Poem
  • Fulbright Fellowship Outreach at Arunachal
  • Id-ul Fitr da namaz nattana..
  • Nupi Landa Thaunaphabishing #13 :: Book
  • Lok Sabha election is coming, be prepared
  • 6th Hun-Thadou Cultural Festival
  • Let There Be Free & Fair Election
  • "ST status for Meetei" at Lamlong
  • Science magazines are important for student
  • Interesting choice of candidates
  • The power of We, the voters
  • Inspirations from Scientists of Manipur #1
  • The Case for Amendment of Article 371-C
  • Meitei Nongsha #1 :: Artwork
  • Link between forest & conflict in Manipur
  • Final Call for Application MFA - Phase-2
  • ST for Meiteis call before elections
  • Passing the buck
  • Beating of the Retreat #1 : Gallery
  • Life of our Lives in Ethnic Strife Era! :: Poem
  • IIT-Guwahati annual Half Marathon
  • Follow up: European Parliament on Manipur
  • Yoga & Kegel exercise: Pelvic floor workout
  • Opting for the NOTA button
  • Yearning of the displaced people
  • Kenedy Khuman (Singer) : Gallery
  • 5th NE Women's Peace Congregation
  • World Autism Awareness Day 2024
  • Election fever grips Manipur despite unrest
  • Looking for a decent election hustings
  • Clock ticking towards voting day
  • An exemplary directive
  • Children Camp @JNMDA Imphal #1 : Gallery
  • Memo to Election Commission of India
  • Easter & Holi echo in Nilgiris
  • Holiday Camp for children at JNMDA, Imphal
  • Zero waste is our moral responsibility
  • Elections & loyalty vis-a-vis Manipur crisis
  • Show of strength without unity
  • Yaoshang Pichakari #2 : Gallery
  • Panthoi Chanu : 1st to play in Australia
  • Intensive labs in film preservation
  • Building bridges with books
  • Need of the hour: Political maturity
  • Accepting defeat before the election
  • Descent of Radha-Krishna #28: Download
  • April Calendar for Year 2024 : Tools
  • Natural packaging from bamboo : Gallery
  • The Power of Poppy - 25 :: Poem
  • Everyone has their own Bharat Ratna
  • Nupi Landa Thaunaphabishing #12 :: Book
  • Demand- Manipuri as classical language
  • The Drummer from Odisha
  • Beauty benefits of lemon
  • Yaoshang Mei Thaba #2 : Gallery
  • Manipur's original Ponies : Gallery
  • Yaoshang & Dance of Democracy loom
  • Symposium on Jagadguru Shankaracharya
  • Choosing ITI as a campus after X
  • Yaoshang Pichakari #1 : Gallery
  • Yaoshang @Nabadwip Dham : Gallery
  • How oral health affects your pregnancy
  • Two faces of Holi
  • Prawaas 4.0, Multimodal Transport Show
  • A decade of development of higher education
  • Yaoshang Mei Thaba #1 : Gallery
  • Our Eternal Kangleipak :: Poem
  • Micro-livestock for livelihoods: For NE States
  • The fun of Holi used to be monotonous
  • 2nd Annual Art Exhibition #1 : Gallery
  • About the "Meitei" community from Manipur
  • Unveiling the medicinal benefits of honey
  • The incalculable value of wildlife
  • Promises of true love
  • Trends, Alliances, & Challenges in Elections
  • Meitei Goddess Ngaleima : An Artwork
  • Water is the most precious gift of God
  • Bharat needs a strong 'India'
  • Transformation of railway stations
  • Not quite the final countdown
  • Missing of 'The Saffron' from electoral colour
  • Descent of Radha-Krishna #27: Download
  • 3rd North East Games: Manipur champion
  • The Power of Poppy - 24 :: Poem
  • EBTC & JCRE signed MoU
  • Early Detection Program at Toubul
  • How Holi affects our mood & mental health
  • Lamta Thangja @ Imphal : Gallery
  • Manipur cinema legacy shines at ARCUREA
  • The pulse of politics amidst conflict
  • Forest is most important vital organ of Earth
  • Tips to play safe Holi
  • Politics of naming candidates
  • Disappearing of spring from season cycle
  • Meira Paibis of Manipur
  • Demand for ST status by Meiteis
  • Project Personal Opening @Assam University
  • World Poetry Day at Manipur University
  • Green skills for sustainable world
  • Supportive interventions during exam time
  • Interesting run up to LS polls
  • Onus definitely on PM to restore peace
  • Nupi Landa Thaunaphabishing #11 :: Book
  • Water, water everywhere ...
  • 21st March - A special day for Forest
  • RI imprisonment to Rapists at Silchar
  • Arrests threaten fragile ceasefire
  • The Valor Within :: Poem
  • Monitoring the rehab centres
  • True colour of politicians
  • North East Film Festival #2 : Gallery
  • Linthoingambi- 'Jury Honourable Mention'
  • Meitei Goddess Phouoibi : An Artwork #3
  • Formation of Wesean Student Federation
  • 20th March- International Day of Happiness
  • A call to first time voter youths
  • Playing the card close to its chest
  • Targeting FOCS and ITLF
  • Students @ Class X Exam : Gallery
  • Alarming Pictures of Nongpok Sekmai River
  • Health camp at Khangabok Relief Camp
  • Absence of refugee laws fuels ethnic tension
  • Electoral bonds and Mr Bond
  • ATSUM spilling the beans now
  • Main stumbling block to peaceful election
  • Descent of Radha-Krishna #26: Download
  • Engudam Kavita: Gold @Bodybuilding Ch'ship
  • Sangai :: An Artwork
  • Deepika M urges to observe 2 Mins Silence
  • Attention Manifesto letters- boxes of promises
  • Gearing up for Lok Sabha polls
  • Debate over long poll process
  • Saroi Khangba @ Kangla : Gallery
  • Stress in adolescents due to ethnic clash
  • Will Manipur ever be the same again
  • Innovation : A review
  • Love and Harmony :: Poem
  • Special scholarship scheme for girls
  • Imphal Book Fair 2023 #3 : Gallery
  • Relief material at Serou & Wangoo
  • The power of the human-animal bond
  • Agribusiness & food processing in North East
  • India Defense Policy: Challenge & Imperative
  • Sit across the table and talk
  • Controversial arrest & chaotic confusion
  • Protest for scrapping SoO #2 :Gallery
  • Kangpokpi, a safe haven for immigrants
  • Education Tour to cover 90 Liangmai villages
  • NE Centre for High School Research
  • Rivers & life on planet Earth
  • Efforts to free examinations from cheating
  • Wanted : A Govt that works
  • Leaving undone what ought to be done
  • Interview with Kenedy Khuman (Singer)
  • Meitei Goddess Phouoibi : An Artwork #2
  • Manmade barriers that block TB care
  • Little Leisana & other tales :: Review
  • OPD Camp at Lamboikhongnangkhong
  • Farmers need markets, not charity !
  • Questions for political parties
  • CAA-NRC collision
  • Nupi Landa Thaunaphabishing #10 :: Book
  • ST tag is a must for survival of Meetei- Why?
  • Maharaj Narasingh Statue @Kangla :Gallery
  • The Power of Poppy - 23 :: Poem
  • Chinese soft power: Unveiling the silk road
  • BID in Setbacks through MOM
  • Gearing up for LS polls amid unrest
  • Of ECl's vacant post, bonds of contention
  • North East Film Festival #1 : Gallery
  • Kiren Rijiju is wrong about Manipur violence
  • Working Committee Meeting Minutes -NPF
  • Journal: Insights from a youth amidst conflict
  • Aaya Ram Gaya Ram influenced politics
  • Questions over the status of SoO pact
  • Deportation of illegal immigrants
  • Shopping List for Shivaratri : Gallery
  • Mahadev & our turmoil
  • Seminar : Inclusive Education: Past, Present
  • High prevalence of AIDS in NE alarming
  • Fruit peels for glowing skin
  • A test for the voters
  • Tedious tirades & futile expectations
  • Descent of Radha-Krishna #25: Download
  • Holistic Review of Article 371 C
  • National Lok Adalat, District Court, Manipur
  • Scholarships for SSC Aspirants from ST
  • Gift of Life :: Poem
  • Women leading towards economy of equality
  • N Tombi Equestrian C'ships #1 : Gallery
  • Featured Front Page Photo 2024 #1: Gallery
  • Transgender Malem protest [Mar 6] : Gallery
  • Radio E-pao: Manipuri Film OST (130+ song)
  • Inclusion of ethnic Meetei in Scheduled Tribe
  • Monica Konjengbam- Mega Miss North East
  • Save Manipur : Protest [Feb 15] #3 : Gallery
  • Martin Irengbam - Mister North East 2024
  • Naorem Roshibina- Wushu Medallist : Gallery
  • GHOST of PEACE :: Download Booklet
  • Arambai Tengol & SFs #4 : Gallery
  • Abnormal population growth of Kuki from 1881
  • Resilience in adversity | Kumbi : Gallery
  • Gaan-Ngai at Keishamthong #2 : Gallery
  • Protests attack @ Moreh [18 Jan] #2: Gallery
  • Oinam Chaoba Devi: Sepak Takraw : Gallery
  • List of Kings of Manipur: 33 - 1984 AD