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

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Imphal: 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 the 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.

(IANS)

 

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India Begins Its Election Season With Five States

The BJP has sent top leaders to campaign in Chhattisgarh.

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India, elections
India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi gestures as he addresses the gathering during the 'Global Mobility Summit' in New Delhi, India, VOA

India began on Monday the first of five state elections to be held in coming weeks, important tests for Prime Minister Narendra Modi as he plots a course that he hopes will ensure him victory in a general election due by May.

Voters in the central state of Chhattisgarh went to the polls on Monday to elect representatives for 18 of the state assembly’s 90 seats in a staggered poll complicated by logistical problems and left-wing guerrillas.

The state of about 26 million people has been ruled by Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) since 2003, and he will be hoping to hold on to power.

India, elections
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“Some unholy people have handed guns to children who should have pens in their hands,” Modi told a rally in the state on Friday, referring to the rag-tag guerrillas battling government forces from forest hideouts. “They’ve finished the lives of our tribal children.”

Hundreds of election workers had to be flown in to remote polling stations by helicopter because of the danger posed by the rebels.

Modi called for voters to back his BJP and its vision of “development for all.”

The final phase of voting in Chhattisgarh, which is known for its coal, iron ore and bauxite reserves, will be on Nov. 20.

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The BJP was the preference of about 43 percent of voters in Chhattisgarh, 7 percentage points ahead of the main opposition Congress party, according to a survey released last week by the Lokniti-Centre for the Study of Developing Societies.

Modi’s other big tests will be in the neighboring central state of Madhya Pradesh, where the BJP is slightly ahead of Congress, according to polls, and in the northwestern state of Rajasthan, where Congress is expected to emerge victorious.

A good performance by the BJP in the elections would help it deflect growing criticism over unemployment and a crisis in the countryside over falling farm prices and wages.

India, elections
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Elections will also be held for assemblies in Telangana in the south and Mizoram in the northeast.

The BJP has sent top leaders to campaign in Chhattisgarh, including Yogi Adityanath, a firebrand Hindu priest and the BJP chief minister in Uttar Pradesh state.

Also Read: PM Narendra Modi Announces Easier Access to Credit

Adityanath has been appealing to the BJP’s Hindu-nationalist base and on Sunday accused the opposition of blocking construction of a temple for Hindu god Ram on a disputed site in Uttar Pradesh.

The destruction of a mosque on the site by a Hindu mob in 1992 sparked deadly riots across the country. (VOA)