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7-party alliance backs NCP

Imphal, March 24: Seven constituent parties of the Left and secular alliance will back former minister Chungkhokai Doungel, the NCP candidate, in the Outer Manipur parliamentary constituency, where altogether 10 candidates, including two Independents, filed their nomination papers.

“Seven parties in the alliance have decided to support the NCP candidate in the Outer while the alliance will back CPI candidate Moirangthem Nara Singh in the Inner Manipur seat,” alliance convener Kshetrimayum Shanta said.

The alliance was formed recently by nine parties — the CPI, CPM, RSP, Forward Bloc, JD (U), JD (Secular), Peoples’ Democratic Alliance, Shiv Sena and Bahujan Samaj Party — to back Nara Singh.

Shanta clarified that the decision to support the NCP candidate was taken by the individual parties and not by the alliance as a whole.

The JD (U) is contesting the Outer seat, which will go to the polls on April 9.

A CPI source said the NCP extended support to the alliance candidate in the Inner. The alliance partners, however, do not have a single member in the state Assembly while the NCP has one MLA.

“The alliance partners have an understanding to have the freedom to choose the candidate they want to support in the Outer seat,” Shanta said.

Doungel, 76, is a prominent Kuki leader who held key portfolios in several coalition governments.

The consolidation of the alliance parties, however, is not a “threat” to the Congress.

“We will retain both the seats. We are not worried. There is no rival as such for the Congress candidates. However, we will know about our closest competitors after the withdrawal dates in the two seats,” chief minister Okram Ibobi Singh said.

The Congress candidate in the Inner seat, sitting MP Thokchom Meinya Singh, today filed his nomination papers. Ibobi Singh, Manipur PCC president and deputy chief minister Gaikhangam, ministers and MLAs accompanied Meinya Singh in filing his nomination papers.

Gaikhangam said the Congress would win at least 20 seats in the Northeast.

Ibobi Singh declined to disclose the agenda of his party that would be included in the election manifesto. “Everything will be known when the manifesto is released,” Ibobi Singh said.

The returning officer of the Outer seat, T. Ranjit Singh, cleared all the 10 candidates after scrutiny of the nomination papers. The last date of withdrawal of candidature is March 26.

Altogether five candidates have filed their nomination papers for the Inner constituency till today.

The candidates are sitting Congress MP Thokchom Meinya Singh, R.K. Ranjan Singh (BJP), Moirangthem Nara Singh (CPI), Oinam Indira Devi (Independent) and G. Tonsana Sharma (Manipur Peoples Democratic Front). The last date for filing of nominations is Wednesday.

The Inner seat will go to polls on April 17.