BJP likely to go solo this time in Manipur

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The ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which wrested power in Manipur for the first time in 2017 in alliance with two political parties and supported by independent MLAs, this time most probably fight alone, party leaders indicated.

Union Minister Pratima Bhowmik and Assam Minister Ashok Singhal, BJP’s in-charges for the Manipur elections, separately indicated that the saffron party is keen to contest the elections on its own this time.

However, both Bhowmik and Singhal did not completely rule out the pre-poll alliance with the like-minded parties.

“We are in talks for a pre-poll alliance with the like-minded parties and allies,” Singhal said in Guwahati without disclosing any details of the possible alliance.

Both the ministers however, claimed that the BJP on its own would secure the absolute majority.

While talking to IANS, Union Social Justice and Empowerment Minister Bhowmik said that this time BJP due to its good governance and excellent performance would get majority on its own.

“Our central leaders would soon announce the party candidates for the Manipur elections. Party leaders and workers in Manipur are very active in all respects to secure the BJP’s victory in the forthcoming polls,” said Bhowmik, a BJP leader from Tripura, who is holding a series of indoor organisational meetings every day in different districts.

After 15 years, the Congress was ousted by the BJP-led alliance in the 2017 Assembly polls, despite emerging as the single-largest party with 28 seats.

But the saffron party, which had bagged 21 seats, stitched together a coalition government with the support of four National People’s Party (NPP) MLAs, four Naga People’s Front (NPF) members, the lone Trinamool Congress MLA and an Independent member.

The NPP headed by Meghalaya Chief Minister Conrad K. Sangma, however, already announced to contest the elections on its own this time and would field candidates in at least 40 seats.

The NPP, a national political party, which has political bases in different northeastern states, had contested nine seats in 2017 and won four.

Another ally of the BJP-led government, the Naga People’s Front (NPF), is still undecided on a pre-poll alliance in Manipur.

NPF Manipur state unit president Awangbow Newmai claimed that NPF and BJP have good relations but no pre-poll alliance has been finalised yet between the two parties.

The party has received applications from 40 prospective candidates, Newmai said.

The elections to the 60-member Manipur assembly would be held in two phases on February 27 and March 3.

The counting of votes will take place on March 10.

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