‘Don’t convert elections into battlefield’

Correspondent IMPHAL, OCT 13 | Publish Date: 10/13/2021 11:27:47 AM IST

United Front Manipur (UFM), a political conglomerate, on Wednesday put a big question mark on free and fair election in the state.

The conglomerate of four political parties in the state also asked on what ground the BJP-led coalition government claimed law and order have been improved in the state.

“Was the recent spate of poll-related violent incidents occurring at various places of the state signs of improvement of law and order in the state?” UFM chairman Sapam Samugou asked. Four state units of parties - Republican Party of India (A), Manipur State Committee, Democratic Bharatiya Samaj Party, Hindustan Janta Party, Manipur State and Akhil Bharatiya Hind Kranti Party (ABHKP) are the constituents of the UFM.

Speaking at the election wall poster release function of UFM at Manipur Press Club Imphal today, the chairman said it was unfortunate to learn that guns were fired during the poll-related violent clashes reported in the last few days in the state.

Dozens of people were injured in a recent series of fights involving gun shots among workers and supporters of rival aspiring candidates of the upcoming election in the state Assembly.  

Samugou said that the BJP-led coalition government has been repeatedly claiming that the law and order of the state have improved remarkably since the inception of the incumbent government but asked on what ground the claim was made. He claimed that poll-related violence involving gun shots were reported in as many as five Assembly constituencies in the last few days and the state government remained silent without taking up any appropriate action to check repetition of such incidents in future.

The clashes took place when the Election Commission of India (ECI) was yet to announce the poll schedule and “we are worried what it would be after the poll schedule was announced,” he said.

The chairman observed that elections are democratic process of people electing their representatives through adult franchise. Voters must be allowed to use their franchise in a free and fearless manner. 

However, elections are like battle fields in the state. Candidates involved in the clashes should be held responsible for such violent incidents. The state government should take appropriate action against them, he demanded. In the election wall poster of the conglomerate released today, it read, “Do not convert the 12th state Assembly election 2022 into the battlefield of Kurukshetra of Mahabharata.”

At the same time, police must also take up appropriate actions. They should take up suo-moto cases and those responsible should not be spared.  

If not, it would be hard to check future occurrence of such unfortunate incidents, he added.  UFM will also participate in the upcoming elections by sending out candidates, if possible consensus candidates, the chairman said.

“We are discussing fielding common candidates in some Assembly constituencies,” he said.

Manipur will go to poll most likely by the early part of next year in February-March, before the end of the tenure of the current Assembly. 

The tenure of the current 11th Manipur Legislative Assembly is due to end by March 19, 2022. The previous assembly elections were held in March 2017. 

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