Campaign gathers momentum for Manipur by-election; 17 NPF leaders join BJP, NPP chief Conrad Sangma in Imphal

NPF is one of the major coalition parties of the BJP-led state government.

With the bye-election for the seats of Assembly constituencies lying vacant inevitable, political parties in the state have started serious campaigns amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

In a major setback to the Naga People’s Front (NPF) Manipur unit, at least 17 leaders and officials left the party to join the state Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in Tamenglong on Saturday.

The incident comes three days after Manipur chief minister N. Biren Singh kicked off the election campaign Wangjing Tentha MLA P. Brojen for the BJP. NPF is one of the major coalition parties of the BJP-led state government.

The NPF leaders who resigned Saturday include president G Keikhumjanang; working president Adim Panmei; vice president Asin Kamei; vice president Daikham; vice president BT Guijuanang; vice president Gaiduanrei; treasurer Adi panmei; secretary Moses and six advisors. The two ADC Members are executive member Pouhotlung Panmei and Small Town Chairman Charles Liangdiang. They have resigned from their primary membership to join and support former MLA Janghemlung Panmei, an intending BJP candidate in the forthcoming by-election.

A reception programme to welcome the resigned NPF officials and two ADC members was held at the residence of Janghemlung at Utopia Ward No 1 in Tamenglong ST assembly constituency on Saturday.

NPF working president and Ex- MDC and who is also Cheangdai village authority chairman Adim Panmei said that they loved their party but they have more love for Janghemlung Panmei.

Meanwhile, amid the crisis within the National People’s Party (NPP) in Manipur over its president post, party chief and chief minister of Meghalaya Conrad K Sangma inaugurated the new NPP office at Naoremthong, Imphal.

According to a source from the party, Sangma is in Imphal to discuss strategies for upcoming bye election and also to take stock of the political developments.   

Deputy chief minister of Manipur, Yumam Joykumar, minister L. Jayentakumar, N. Kayisi, Letpao Haokip and other party workers were present in the inaugural programme.

Conrad Sangma has tweeted that, "NPP is committed more than ever to serve the people of Manipur and northeast. Thank all our supporters and well-wishers”.

The Election Commission of India (ECI) acknowledged five assembly constituencies as clear vacancy due for by-election of the total 13 vacant seats. They are Wangoi, Wangjing Tentha, Lilong, Saitu and Singhat. The eight remaining constituencies were not included in the list of clear vacancies owing to the pending election petition cases in the court.

The seats cleared by the ECI for bye-election are five of six Congress MLAs who recently tendered their resignation from the Congress party. They are Saitu MLA Ngamthang Haokip, Wangoi MLA Oinam Lukhoi, Singhat MLA Ginsuanhau, Lilong MLA Md Abdul Nasir and Wangjin Tentha MLA P. Brojen. Four of the five MLAs joined the BJP fold in New Delhi just recently.

First Published:Sept. 13, 2020, 8:31 a.m.