Mnp CM launches campaign for by-elections

Mnp CM launches campaign for by-elections
CM N Biren launching BJP s bye-election campaign in Thoubal on Wednesday. (NP)
Correspondent IMPHAL, SEP 9 | Publish Date: 9/9/2020 1:09:17 PM IST

Amid the coronavirus pandemic, campaign for bye-elections is gaining momentum in Manipur.

Launching an election campaign of the ruling BJP in Thoubal district, state chief minister N Biren Singh on Wednesday claimed that the incumbent BJP-led coalition government was the best government ever installed in the state.

The CM launched the campaign for BJP’s expectant candidate Paonam Brojen Singh at Khongjom. 

Hundreds of supporters and BJP workers took part in the campaign despite restriction of a gathering of more than 50 as laid down by COVID-19 guidelines in the state and even the ECI’s guideline restricting mass gathering during election campaigns.

Singh said that in its three and a half years tenure of the coalition government, many schemes reaching out to the poor section of the society were implemented.

These sections of people were neglected all these years by previous government, he alleged.

The coalition has been working hard to bring all round development in the state, the chief minister said highlighting various achievements of his government in the last three and a half years.

Brojen, who resigned as Congress MLA from the state Assembly recently is  expected to contest the bye-election after he vacated the seat on BJP ticket. 

He was among the six Congress MLAs who their tendered resignations from the state Assembly as well as the primary memberships of Manipur Congress.

As many as 13 seats of the state legislative Assembly are currently vacant as notified by the state Assembly secretariat. Among them, four members were disqualified by the Speaker while the remaining nine  comprising three BJP MLAs and six Congress MLAs had resigned as members of the state Assembly.

The Election Commission of India is yet to finalise the number of Assembly constituencies where bye-elections will be held as cases of some disqualified MLAs were still pending in the High Court of Manipur. The ECI had recently hinted at holding the due bye-elections to vacant seats of the Assembly and one Parliamentary seat along with the general elections to the Bihar state Assembly before the last week of November this year.

Since then, some candidates including those who resigned and disqualified MLAs have already started their campaigns at their levels. Some are trying to lure voters by distributing daily essential items to residents of their respective constituencies affected by the pandemic.

The CSOs observed that holding elections during the pandemic will further complicate the already worse COVID situation in the state. Among political parties, CPI Manipur State Council joined the chorus to defer the bye-election.

The party announced it will not field any candidate in the bye-elections if the ECI goes ahead with its schedule planned amid the COVID-19 crisis.

The party alleged that the forthcoming by-election to the vacant Assembly seats were necessitated due to horse trading by BJP and not by natural factors such as the expiry of sitting MLAs.

“It is an artificial one engineered by BJP which allegedly offered hefty amounts to some MLAs to resign from the membership of Manipur Legislative Assembly,” CPI veteran leader Dr Moirangthem Nara remarked.

Pointing out that the death toll neared 40, CPI state secretary L Sotinkumar also decried the by-election terming it “ill-timed.”

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