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Battle for Inner Manipur: BJP and Congress Emerging as Front-Runners Amidst Ethnic Unrest

Waari SIngbul Network


Imphal: Amidst the ongoing ethnic unrest in the State, the Inner Manipur Parliamentary Constituency emerges as a pivotal battleground between arch-rivals BJP and Congress.  Comprising 32 Assembly constituencies, encompassing Imphal West and Imphal East, Thoubal, and Bishnupur, this constituency is one of two parliamentary seats that Manipur has, slated for polls in the first phase of the 18th Lok Sabha 2024 on April 19, 2024. With a demographic makeup spanning urban and rural areas, including the most populous regions in Manipur, Inner Manipur holds significant political sway.

In the 17th Lok Sabha, Inner Manipur was represented by BJP’s Dr. Rajkumar Ranjan who served in Narendra Modi’s cabinet as the Minister of State for External Affairs and Education.

As the electoral race intensifies, six candidates vie for this crucial MP seat, including popular film stars Rajkumar Samendro Singh, known as Kaiku, and Maheshwar Thounaojam, likened to Bollywood’s Mithun Chakravorty. Noteworthy contenders also include retired Colonel Haorungbam Sarat Singh and Social Worker Moirangthem Tomtomshana Nongshaba.

However, the frontrunners in this electoral battle are Thounaojam Basanta Kumar Singh of the BJP and Angomcha Bimol Akoijam of the Indian National Congress, backed by the INDIA Block.

Thounaojam Basanta Kumar, a voluntarily retired IPS officer, inherits a political legacy from his father Thounaojam Chaoba, a stalwart BJP figure in Manipur. With exposure to national politics during his tenure as a Resident Commissioner and Officer on Special Duty to his father, Basanta Kumar pledges to prioritize the state’s development and communal harmony. He vows to tackle the ongoing crisis by bridging community divides and advocating for the welfare of internally displaced persons.

In contrast, Angomcha Bimol Akoijam, a newcomer to politics and a JNU associate professor, emerges as a vocal advocate against false narratives surrounding the unrest. He emphasizes the urgency of addressing the state’s existential threats and vows to champion the cause of the displaced populace, promising both physical and economic rehabilitation.

Akoijam questions the delayed response to the ethnic turmoil and highlights the absence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s direct intervention, contrasting it with his swift actions in other regions. He urges voters to prioritize integrity over monetary influence and pledges to restore peace and stability in Manipur if elected.

Significantly, the campaigning for the 18th Lok Sabha Election in Manipur has been notably subdued, and conducted away from public scrutiny. Further, numerous civil society organizations have issued appeals to refrain from engaging in election campaigning as witnessed in previous years, characterized by grand displays of strength through flag hoisting, large public gatherings, and extravagant feasts and assemblies.

As the electoral battle unfolds, the Inner Manipur Parliamentary Constituency stands at a crossroads, awaiting the decision of its electorate to navigate through the turbulent waters of ethnic unrest and political uncertainty.

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