BJP opens account in Manipur assembly, wins two seats in by-polls

Imphal, Nov 24 (IANS) The BJP on Tuesday opened its account in the Manipur assembly by winning by-elections in two assembly constituencies, polling for which were held on November 21.

Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) candidates Thongam Biswajit Singh and Khumukcham Joykishan won the Thongju and Thangmeiband seats respectively, defeating candidates of the ruling Congress, an election official said.

The by-elections were necessitated after Assembly Speaker Th. Lokeshwar Singh disqualified All India Trinamool Congress legislators – Thongam Biswajit Singh, Khumukcham Joykishan and Lukhoi Singh – under the anti-defection law on May 28.

However, the Manipur High Court stayed the speaker’s order on Lukhoi Singh, who represents Wangoi constituency.

In Thangmeiband, Joykishan defeated nearest rival Jyotin Waikhom by 1,907 votes. An 85 percent voter turnout was recorded in the segment.

The former Trinamool Congress legislator polled 12,104 votes while Waikhom secured 10,197 votes.

In Thongju, which recorded 92 percent voter turnout, Biswajit defeated nearest rival Bijoy Koijam of the Congress by 3,213 votes. Biswajit secured 14,606 votes and Koijam 11,393 votes. Seventy-eight voters opted for ‘None of The Above’.

“There has been no significant development in the state under Okram Ibobi Singh government. People in both assembly constituencies have rightly rejected the Congress through these by-elections,” Manipur BJP president Th. Chaoba Singh told IANS.

Chaoba said BJP workers would now prepare a roadmap for the 2017 assembly elections in Manipur so as to ensure sustainable peace and development in the state bordering Myanmar, which is plagued by prolonged insurgency.

Reacting to the loss, the Congress said it was “deeply concerned” over the defeat in three by-elections in Manipur and Meghalaya. Hill State People’s Democratic Party won the seat by defeating the Congress in Meghalaya.

“Although our candidates lost in the by-elections (in Meghalaya and Manipur) by narrow margins, we are deeply concerned. We will soon sit down and analyse our defeat to the BJP, especially in Manipur,” Congress leader V. Narayanasamy told IANS over phone.

“We will take all steps to get all secular parties together to prevent communal forces from forming the next government in the north-eastern states,” he said.

In the 60-member assembly, ruling Congress has 48 members, Trinamool Congress and Naga People’s Front four members each, and Lok Janshakti Party and Nationalist Congress Party one member each. The BJP now has two members.

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