| Women pay tribute to martyrs at a memorial site in Imphal on Sunday. Picture by UB Photos |
Imphal, April 13: The “crucial” poll fight has taken precedence over Cheiraoba (Meitei new year) celebrations tomorrow in the Inner Manipur parliamentary constituency.
Political parties will continue campaigning as not much time is left. The Inner Manipur seat will go to polls on April 17.
Cheiraoba is one of the most important festivals of the Meiteis, who are settled in the four valley districts, which are included in the Inner Manipur constituency.
On the day of the festival, people clean their houses and prepare special dishes for family members and neighbours. It is a religious and fun-filled festival.
In the afternoon, married daughters visit their parents carrying presents for the family members. In return, they receive their blessings. Offerings are made to deities by families for their well-being.
Eight candidates are in fray for the Inner Manipur seat. Thokchom Meinya Singh of the Congress is seeking re-election for the third consecutive term. His two main rivals are Moirangthem Nara Singh of the CPI and R.K. Ranjan Singh of the BJP.
The Manipur PCC president and deputy chief minister Gaikhangam himself termed the Inner Manipur election crucial as the Congress, which is ruling in Manipur, has gone all out to win both the seats in the state to help the UPA’s cause in Delhi.
Though the Congress has 47 MLAs in the 60-member House, the party is not taking any chances.
“We will hold a big campaign meeting at Andro ground tomorrow despite the Cheiraoba festival. We cannot enjoy the festival as the time for campaigning is running out. Both chief minister Okram Ibobi Singh and the deputy chief minister will address the meeting,” a Congress leader said.
Andro Assembly constituency in Imphal East district is represented by Trinamul Congress MLA Thounaojam Shyamkumar. The Trinamul Congress is fielding Sarangthem Manaobi, a former IPS officer, in the Inner Manipur seat.
Similarly, the BJP plans to hold three election campaign meetings in Imphal West.
The CPI, however, decided not to disturb the peaceful celebration of the festival with election speeches and meetings.
The campaign meetings will, however, start only in the afternoon so that the campaigning does not disturb the people in completing all the rituals and the grand feast.
House-to-house campaigning will be suspended by all the contesting parties because of the festival.