April 13, 2014

MANIPUR & LOK SABHA 2014


WILL SINGH BE THE KING OF MANIPUR AGAIN?



In 2012, as five states went to the polls in March 2012 (Link), it there was some cheer for the Congress, it came from Imphal. After almost digging its own grave in Uttarakhand, a drubbing in Goa, a virtual no-show in UP and a defeat in Punjab, it was Okram Ibobi Singh who saved the blushes for the INC as he won a straight third term in the North-eastern state of Manipur (Link). Nearly two years down the line, it remains to be seen if the Singh can re-create that magic this time around too. The TMC which did pretty well in 2012 is hoping to cement its place as a viable option to the people here. The BJP is hoping that the Modi wave will come to its rescue in a state where it has traditionally been a non-starter. Many smaller regional players have joined hands with the CPI to put out a tough fight. The issues are expected to be local and the Congress has the edge in Manipur.

ISSUES

(1) Political Scenario in the state: Now this is one issue which I have been repeating for most of the state from this part of the country. The reason being that considering their distance from New Delhi the issues at the state level generally dominate the political landscape. Okram Ibobi Singh wants to continue his superb streak here and win both the seats for the Congress. After walking away with an intimidating tally of 42 in the 60 member assembly, many are placing their bets on the INC to repeat its 2009 Lok Sabha polls. A divided Opposition would only further help the regime.

(2) Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA): To combat armed insurgency in the state, the government of India has imposed the 'draconian' AFSPA here which gives the army imposing powers. However, the people of the Mizoram have been critical of the this, asking New Delhi to revoke it and not to infringe on their human rights. Irom Sharmila, who has been on a fast for 14 years now, is the face of the common Manipuri against oppression they face in their own country.

CONTENDERS

(1) Congress: After winning 70 percent of the seats in the last assembly elections, the INC is the hot favorite to from both the seats here. The grand old party has renominated its incumbent MPs - Meinya Singh and Thangso Baite from the two parliamentary seats of Inner Manipur and Outer Manipur respectively.

(2) Trinamool Congress (TMC): Didi's party made an impressive debut here in 2012, finishing second with seven seats. In a bid to carry forward the momentum, the TMC has fielded its candidates for the General Elections too. They are former MP Kim Gangte and Sarangthem Manobi Singh.

(3) Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP): Although it is never a big player in the entire North-East region, forget the state, the BJP is banking on Modi to get the votes. It has allocated tickets to historian Gangmumei Kamei (Outer Manipur) and environmentalist R K Ranjan Singh (Inner Manipur).

(4) Others: The Left along with several regional players including the Manipur People's Party has fielded senior Communist leader M Nara from Inner Manipur whereas the Aam Admi Party (AAP) too has jumped into the electoral fray.

PAST PERFORMANCES

The Congress has been the most successful party in the state over the last five Lok Sabha polls. It won both the seats here in 2009 and in 1996. However, 1999 was a rare occasion when it failed to even open its account. The MSCP was a force to reckon with in the late 90s but drew a blank in the last two elections.

Political Party
2009
2004
1999
1998
1996
Congress
2
1
1
-
2
Manipur State Congress Party (MSCP)
-
-
1
1
-
Communist Party of India (CPI)
-
-
-
1
-
Independent
-
1
-
-
-

MY PREDICTIONS

With the anti-government votes being split amongst various parties, I expect the Congress to win both the seats here.

Political Party
Expected Seats
1
Congress (INC)
2
2
Others (MSCP/TMC/NCP/NPF)
0

WATCH OUT

(1) Rise of the TMC: While I do not expect any surprises here as far as Lok Sabha 2014 is concerned, I will be keeping an eye on the performance of the Trinamool. Although it got just one sixth of the seats that the INC won in 2012, there is no doubt that the Mamata's outfit had a splendid debut. The upcoming elections will prove whether the TMC's showing in the state polls was just a flash in the pan or if they could potential emerge as the real competitors to the Congress in the coming years in Imphal.

Other posts in this series:
(1) Karnataka & Lok Sabha 2014 (Link)
(2) Rajasthan & Lok Sabha 2014 (Link)
(3) Maharashtra & Lok Sabha 2014 (Link)
(4) Goa & Lok Sabha 2014 (Link)
(5) Kerala & Lok Sabha 2014 (Link)
(6) Assam & Lok Sabha 2014 (Link)
(7) Tripura & Lok Sabha 2014 (Link)
(8) Haryana & Lok Sabha 2014 (Link)
(9) Chhattisgarh & Lok Sabha 2014 (Link)
(10) Jammu Kashmir & Lok Sabha 2014 (Link)
(11) Madhya Pradesh & Lok Sabha 2014 (Link)
(12) Telangana & Lok Sabha 2014 (Link)
(13) Bihar & Lok Sabha 2014 (Link)
(14) Jharkhand & Lok Sabha 2014 (Link)
(15) Sikkim & Lok Sabha 2014 (Link)
(16) Arunachal Pradesh & Lok Sabha 2014 (Link)
(17) Nagaland & Lok Sabha 2014 (Link)
(18) Meghalaya & Lok Sabha 2014 (Link)
(19) Mizoram & Lok Sabha 2014 (Link)
(20) Delhi & Lok Sabha 2014 (Link)
(21) Uttarakhand & Lok Sabha 2014 (Link)
(22) Himachal Pradesh & Lok Sabha 2014 (Link)
(23) Gujarat & Lok Sabha 2014 (Link)
(24) Punjab & Lok Sabha 2014 (Link)
(25) Bengal & Lok Sabha 2014 (Link)
(26) Odisha & Lok Sabha 2014 (Link)
(27) Tamil Nadu & Lok Sabha 2014 (Link)
(28) Andhra & Lok Sabha 2014 (Link)
(29) Uttar Pradesh & Lok Sabha 2014 (Link)