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All is not well in Manipur Trinamul

Imphal, April 2: Cracks within Trinamul Congress, the largest Opposition party in Manipur, may play spoilsport for the party at the hustings.

Party sources said there were sharp differences between the organisation and legislature party and also within its legislature wing.

Only one of the seven Trinamul MLAs attended the flag-hoisting (ceremonial unfurling of party flag at the house of a candidate) programme of party president Kim Gangte at her Langol home on the outskirts of Imphal on March 28.

Kim, a former MP, is contesting in the Outer Manipur constituency.

While Kim was on a campaign tour in Thoubal district yesterday, the party’s legislature wing leader, I. Ibohalbi Singh, attended a similar flag-hoisting programme for Kim’s rival candidate Lien Gangte of the JD (U), which was held at the candidate’s residence here.

Addressing the programme, Ibohalbi Singh said the JD (U) nominee was a “qualified” candidate. “We will support him,” he said.

When contacted, Kim expressed surprise at Ibohalbi Singh’s presence at the JD (U) candidate’s programme and also at his statement.

Ibohalbi Singh, however, maintained that there was a friendly fight between the Trinamul and JD (U) in the Outer seat while the JD (U) was extending support to the Trinamul in the Inner constituency, where the party is fielding former IPS officer S. Manaobi Singh.

“Right now I am concentrating on my campaigning. I will look into problems, if there is any, in the party after the polls are over,” Kim told The Telegraph when asked if she would take any disciplinary action against Ibohalbi Singh.

Trinamul spokesperson and party observer Derek O’Brien visited Imphal three days ago to discuss the poll strategy. Party sources said only two MLAs turned up to meet Derek.

“Why should we meet him? Central party leaders are refusing to meet the MLAs when we go to them. They asked us to come through the party president. They now want to meet us because of the elections,” a Trinamul MLA said.

Sources said the MLAs were also not happy with the party president’s style of functioning.

The MLA said the central leaders were neglecting the state unit and they failed in their commitment to send central leaders regularly to Manipur to discuss the organisational matters.

There is also a division within the legislature party. Only two MLAs — Ibohalbi Singh and Th. Shyamkumar — accompanied Manaobi Singh when he filed nomination papers for the Inner seat.

Party sources said the other five MLAs are united, while they had a grudge with the style of functioning of Ibohalbi and Shyamkumar.

The Trinamul opened its account in Manipur in February 2011 when its candidate Konthoujam Sarat won Konthoujam Assembly byelection in Imphal West, which was necessitated by the death of the then speaker Sapam Budhichandra.

The party emerged the largest Opposition party in the Assembly by winning seven seats in the 2012 state election.

“All is not well within the party. The sharp differences among the rank and files of the party and disgruntlement over neglect of the state unit by the central leaders will have a severe impact on the party’s poll prospect,” the party’s spokesman R.K. Shivachandra said.


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