Inner Manipur seat goes to polls today

Imphal: The political fate of 11 candidates, including Manipur’s former top official, a popular film actor and a left-candidate supported by the constituent of the BJP-led ruling alliance, will be at stake when the Inner Manipur Lok Sabha constituency goes to the polls in the second phase of polling today.
The ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has again nominated RK Ranjan Singh, who unsuccessfully contested the 2014 Lok Sabha polls, while the Congress has replaced its sitting MP Thokchom Meinya with former Chief Secretary O Nabakishore.
Meghalaya’s ruling National People’s Party (NPP), which is a leading coalition partner in Manipur with all its four legislators serving as Ministers including Yumnam Joykumar as the Deputy Chief Minister, has tied up with the Communist Party of India (CPI) a week before the polls began on April 11 and is supporting its candidate, M. Nara.
“I have contested 12 elections. I find this election, which is likely to be my last, to be the happiest one. I am penniless and depend mostly on crowd funding. Several lakhsof rupees are being donated by the people. If I get elected, I shall not fail them and will fight for their various problems,” Nara said.
Meanwhile, the Congress is making all efforts to retain the Inner Manipur seat. It has been attacking the BJP on various issues, particularly the controversial Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, which had raised a furore in the North East.
“BJP is trying to woo the voters with imaginary issues such as the hill and valley divide. Despite the agitations, BJP leaders have been announcing in public meetings that the Centre shall implement the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016 by July. People in the Northeastern states have agitated fearing being swamped by the people who will be allowed to migrate and settle in the region. The people who are against this Bill shall not vote for the BJP,” state Congress chief Gaikhangam said.
Manipuri film actor RK Somorendro, who is fighting as an independent candidate, has asserted that he would fight for Manipur’s issues ‘without restrictions from the high commands’.
However, he faced a major setback on Tuesday when film personalities led by singer-actor Boney M and RK Hemabati went around the women’s market canvassing for the BJP candidate, instead of supporting him.
All preparations have been made for today’s polls and election officials have left Imphal for the different polling stations on Wednesday, officials said.
CEO PK Singh said that steps have been taken for an incident-free polling.
Polling for Manipur’s other seat—Outer Manipur (reserved)—was held on April 11 in first phase of the Lok Sabha elections. (IANS)

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