BJP sweeps Mnp by-polls; wins 4 out of 5 seats

BJP sweeps Mnp by-polls; wins 4 out of 5 seats
Manipur agriculture minister O Lukohi wins Wangoi AC.
Correspondent IMPHAL, Nov 10 | Publish Date: 11/10/2020 12:34:39 PM IST

The ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Tuesday swept the by-elections in Manipur winning four of the five seats to help strengthen the position of the saffron-led coalition government.

The Congress could not retain a single seat as the remaining one seat went to an independent candidate.

Chief minister N Biren Singh whose shaky chair is fixed termed the by-polls results a big victory for the saffron while praising the people who voted for the “right candidates”.

“We won four out of five seats -BJP Manipur contested only in four ACs- in #Manipur Assembly By-poll.” 

“Once again the people of Manipur have shown their trust in the principles and ideology of #BJP and the able leadership of Hon’ble PM, Shri Narendra Modi ji,” Singh posted on Facebook. He expressed his sincere gratitude to all the people who have voted for the right candidates and made this happen.

Of the five Assembly segments which Election Commission decided to conduct by-polls, four went to poll on November 7 as a BJP candidate in Singhat AC of Churachandpur district was declared elected unopposed. The counting of votes for the four ACs was held on Tuesday. The ruling BJP candidates won in three ACs -Wangjing-Tentha in Thoubal district, Wangoi in Imphal West and Saitu (ST) in Kangpokpi district.

However, in Lilong AC of Thoubal district where BJP did not fielded a candidate, the independent candidate backed by the party suffered a humiliating defeat. The by-poll in this constituency was necessitated after Md Abdul Nasir resigned from the state Assembly as Congress legislator. Unlike the four others who resigned from the Assembly together with him, he chose to contest the by-poll as an independent candidate and he lost the seat despite strong backing by the BJP in power. The rest retained their seats.

Independent candidate Y Antas Khan who won the seat defeated Nasir by a huge margin of 3,078 votes. Khan secured 17,106 votes while Nasir 14,028. 

Congress candidate Md Azizul Haque Khan who fought the by-poll also suffered a humiliating defeat. He got only 142 votes which were even less than from the NOTA (none of the above). A total of 150 voters chose NOTA in this AC.

The biggest win the BJP registered was in Saitu (ST) were party candidate Ngamthang Haokip defeated his lone rival Congress candidate by a margin of 12,144 votes. Ngamthang secured a total of 24,394 votes while 12,250 votes went in favour of the Congress candidate Lamtinthang Haokip. 

Mention may be made that the Congress has made strong allegations of mass proxy voting and booth rigging and demanded re-polls to as many as 10 out of 70 polling stations in this AC.

In Wangoi AC, state agriculture minister Oinam Lukhoi contesting  on a BJP candidate, defeated his nearest rival Kh Loken Singh of NPP by a margin of only 257 votes. Lukhoi whose resignation as Congress legislator prompted the by-poll in this Assembly segment, had won the 2017 election too by a margin of only 36 votes from the same NPP candidate. Of the total 29,474 valid votes, 10960 votes went in favour of Lukhoi while Loken managed to secure 10703 votes.

Another Congress turned BJP candidate Paonam Brojen retained his Wangjing-Tentha AC seat in Thoubal district. He defeated his nearest rival M Hemanta of Congress by a margin of 1,513. Brojen secured 15,321 while Hemanta got 13,808 votes. 

Three candidates were in the fray in this constituency. Independent candidate S Manaobi ended with 331 votes while 156 voters chose NOTA. After  winning four seats, the strength of the BJP leading a coalition government in the 60-seat state Assembly increased to 23. Just before the by-elections, the strength of the 11th Manipur Legislative Assembly was reduced to 47 with 13 MLAs either having resigned or disqualified from the house.  

Of the existing 47 members, the BJP and the Congress have 18 and 17 MLAs respectively, while NPP and NPF has four members each, one each of LJP and AITC along with one independent and an unattached member.  

The present BJP-led government is being supported by four MLAs each of NPP and NPF, one each of All India Trinamool Congress (AITC) and Lok Janshakti Party (LJP), one Independent and one unattached member.

However, in the run-up to the by-elections, BJP has added two more MLAs into its account with the election of one unopposed BJP candidate Ginsuanhau Zou from Singhat AC and another BJP candidate of the 11th Manipur Legislative Assembly Elections 2017 Mayanglangbam Rameshwar, by virtue of the High Court of Manipur’s verdict declaring election of Y Surchandra from Kakching AC as null and void. 

As the results of the by-elections to four ACs declared today, the BJP has consolidated its strength to 23 by winning three of the four seats. 

With seven vacant seats in the house of 60-member, the current effective strength of the  state Assembly has now stood at 53 with BJP having 23 MLAs, Congress 17, four each of NPP and NPF, one each of LJP and AITC and one unattached member. 

The number of independent members has also increased to two.

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