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Manipur Cong retains MPs

Imphal, March 9: The Congress retained the two sitting MPs of Manipur to take on the twin threats from the “resurgent” BJP and the Left and secular alliance in the Lok Sabha elections.

Congress sources said the party would start “hectic campaigning” soon.

So far, names of three candidates have been announced for the Inner Manipur parliamentary constituency, including sitting MP Thokchom Meinya Singh of the Congress.

The other two candidates are environmentalist and guest lecturer of geography of Manipur University R.K. Ranjan Singh of the BJP and CPI state secretary Moirangthem Nara Singh.

Nara Singh is the common candidate of nine-party Left and secular alliance, which comprises CPI, CPM, RSP, Forward Bloc, Shiv Sena, Bahujan Swamaj Party, JD (U), JD (Secular), and Peoples’ Democratic Alliance.

The strength of the BJP is growing in Manipur. Its candidate Ranjan Singh, who is entering the electoral fray for the first time, is a well-known face as an active environmentalist.

Manipur Peoples’ Party, one of the oldest regional parties of the country, is expected to extend support to the BJP candidates. The party has decided not to field any candidate in both the seats.

Congress candidate Meinya Singh, a former lecturer of mathematics, who represented the Inner seat for the second consecutive term. However, he faces a serious threat from the BJP and the alliance candidates in his effort to retain the seat for the third term.

In the earlier two elections, Meinya’s nearest rival was Nara Singh and the margin came down in the last Lok Sabha election, worrying the party leaders, including chief minister Okram Ibobi Singh.

In the 2004 election, he defeated Nara Singh by 49,333 votes. The margin came down in the 2009 election to 30,960 votes.

Similarly, BJP candidate Gangmumei Kamei, a former cabinet minister and historian, may prove a hurdle for sitting MP Thangso Baite’s run for a second term in the reserved Outer constituency.

Baite today said he would continue to highlight the major issues of the state before the central authorities.

“The Congress’s stand is to preserve territorial integrity of Manipur and he would continue to contribute on this issue,” Baite said.

In addition to the growing BJP’s support base, JD (U) today announced Len Gangte, a social worker as its candidate in the Outer seat. He is expected to be the common candidate of Left and secular alliance.

JD (U) president Moiran-gthem Tombi said the alliance today held a meeting at its office in Imphal to decide the common candidate for the Outer. As three member parties did not send their representatives to the meeting, a decision on the common candidate could not be taken.

Tombi said parties that attended today’s meeting announced their decision of not fielding their own candidates in the Outer.


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