Manipur Elections 2022, The Congress is trying hard to wrest power from the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led alliance in Manipur in the upcoming assembly elections. The focus will be on the issues of unemployment and development in the state assembly elections to be held after the recent insurgent attacks. The BJP, which joined hands with two local parties, NPP and NPF, managed to form the government in 2017 despite having only 21 seats. Congress got 28 seats.
Demand for cancellation of AFSPA continues for a long time
Apart from law and order, the long-standing demand to repeal the Armed Forces Special Powers Act, the economic crisis in the state, which has hardly any industry, is expected to top the agenda for the election contest between the two main parties. Small local parties like the National People’s Party (NPP) and the Naga People’s Front (NPF) are moving ahead with their respective demands.
Our target is to win more than 40 seats: BJP
The BJP says it wants to win two-thirds of the seats in the upcoming elections. Elections to the 60-member state assembly will be held in two phases on February 27 and March 3. BJP’s Manipur unit vice-president C. Chidananda said his party’s aim is “to win more than 40 seats in the 60-member house”.
Indicating a rift within the alliance, Chidananda categorically admitted “in the hilly region of the state (dominated by Naga tribes), the main contest will be between the BJP and the Naga People’s Front (BJP’s current alliance partner).”
Analysts say differences within the BJP and unhappiness between the NPP and NPF allies over the Hindutva card have created distance between the alliance partners and could affect the BJP’s election prospects. However, Pradeep Phanjoubam, a Manipur writer and editor and an expert on the Northeast, said, “Although there are no pre-poll alliances, there can be post-poll alliances if necessary to form the government.”
Congress is struggling with MLAs leaving the party
The Congress too has been beset with problems in recent months with several of its MLAs leaving the party to join the ruling BJP. Five Congress MLAs, including former Congress state unit president Govinddas Konthoujam, had joined the BJP in August last year.
However, Manipur Pradesh Congress Committee (MPCC) president N. Loken Singh is confident that Congress will make a comeback. He criticized the BJP-led coalition government in Manipur for “corruption and financial scam”. “The prices of essential commodities are skyrocketing, so the people of the state are fed up with the BJP-led governments at the Center as well as in Manipur,” Singh said.
He claimed that the mood of the people is changing as “the number of unemployed youth is increasing day by day… the living conditions of the poor are getting worse.” Whereas BJP leaders are selling banks, airports, railway stations etc. to the rich.” According to the last census, the literacy rate of Manipur was around 80 percent, which is much higher than the national average and male literacy is 86.49 percent. According to Manipur’s Economic Survey 2020-21, youth unemployment in the age group of 15-24 is 44.4 percent.