The ruling BJP coalition tasted first blood as its Singhat candidate won the Assembly seat uncontested after the rival candidate decided to withdraw from the contest even as there were reports that he had been offered a plum government post. The Congress was left protesting as it has done so many times in political events unfolding in the recent times. Four of the seats are, however, still open to the 11 contestants that are left in the fray now, after a few more withdrawals took place. Apart from politics, rains have been playing havoc in the state with all the major rivers flowing above danger level. Paddy fields in some areas have been flooded, even as the NH2 sunk 20 km north of Senapati disrupting traffic and calling for urgent measures.
BJP Gets 60-Singhat Uncontested
The withdrawal of an independent candidate for 60-Singhat Assembly Constituency Bye-Elections in Manipur, has resulted in BJP candidate Ginsuanhau Zou aka G S Haupu being declared elected uncontested.
Ginsuanhau resigned from his Congress MLA seat and joined the BJP recently, while Chinlunthang, a BJP candidate in the 2017 Assembly elections was an independent candidate this time. He withdrew his nomination on October 22 even as there were reports that he had been appointed as an Officer on Special Duty in the Tribal Affairs & Hills Department.
A thanksgiving cum celebration was held at the newly elected MLA’s residence at Lailam Veng where Ginsuanhau conveyed his gratitude to Chinlunthang for the uncontested victory, apart from everyone else who had made his victory possible.
Ginsuanhau was elected on a Congress ticket in 2012 and re-elected on a Congress ticket in 2017. He later joined the BJP for which he was disqualified under the anti-defection law in August.
Meanwhile, Chinlunthang has also given a statement stating that he withdrew for the unity and peace of the Zou Community and people of 60 Singhat AC.
He also stated that his appointment as OSD in the Tribal Affairs and Hills department had been declined by him in writing.
Ibobi Blames RO
Remarkably, in a press conference on October 23 at the Congress Bhavan, Opposition leader Okram Ibobi said people might be already aware why the BJP rival independent candidate of Singhat AC withdrew nomination.
“How could the independent candidate clear scrutiny by being an officer on special duty (OSD),” he stated, calling for the returning officer to be booked for clearing scrutiny of a government in-service person, reports said.
11 Candidates in Fray for Four Seats
Meanwhile, three candidates for the coming bye-polls have withdrawn their nominations leaving only 11 candidates from the total of 16 candidates who originally filed nominations for the bye-polls. Two of the withdrawals were from independent nominations from the Lilong constituency.
The four remaining Assembly constituencies where bye-polls will be held are Wangoi, Wangjing-Tentha, Lilong and Saitu. For the Wangjing-Tentha AC BJP Candidate Paonam Brojen who resigned as Congress MLA, Moirangthem Hemanta of INC and independent candidate Sarangthem Manaobi are in the fray, while Md. Azizul Haque Khan of INC, independent candidate Y Antas Khan and BJP sponsored independent candidate Mohd Abdul Nasir are contesting for Lilong AC. BJP candidate and Agriculture Minister Oinam Lukhoi who resigned as Congress MLA, NPP candidate Khuraijam Loken and INC candidate Salam Joy are contesting for the Wangoi AC, and INC candidate Lanminthang Haokip and BJP Candidate Ngamthang Haokip who resigned as Congress MLA will have a straight fight in Saitu AC.
Parliamentary Secretaries Issue
A team of Manipur Pradesh Congress Committee led by opposition leader Okram Ibobi met Manipur Governor Najma Heptulla on October 23 to submit a memorandum demanding disqualification of the 12 MLAs who were earlier Parliamentary Secretaries.
Charging the BJP led government of illegal and unconstitutional activities, Ibobi stated that the Congress won 28 seats in the last Assembly elections but when the party was about to form the government, the BJP in connivance with its central leaders forcibly formed the present coalition government.
The government also appointed 12 parliamentary secretaries unconstitutionally and availed them the benefits of GAD, Ibobi said.
Salaries and official vehicles from GAD, which is an office of profit were provided to them, Ibobi said urging the governor to disqualify the 12 persons at the earliest.
Fields Flooded, NH2 Sinks at Khongnem
Amidst COVID-19 hardships, many paddy fields are flooded and the major rivers of Manipur like, Imphal River, Nambul River, Iril River and Nambol River are running at danger level. A portion of National Highway 2 at Khongnem about 20 Km north of Senapati town also sank due to incessant rainfall in most parts of Manipur since October 22 evening.
A flood and landslide alert has already been issued by the Director of Relief & Disaster Management, K H Leiyaphy Rita to all the Deputy Commissioners of the districts.
As a precautionary measure to reduce downstream water level of some rivers, gate number 3 of Ithai Barrage is fully opened while gate number 2 and 4 were open partially at the level of 1.5 m and 2 m respectively. On the other hand, gate number 1 and 5 were fully closed, the department informed, reports said.
In the meantime, the massive landslide that occurred along National Highway 2 has completely cut off the state’s lifeline.
The Imphal-Dimapur road was rendered inaccessible in a mudslide, measuring about 120 feet, at Khongnem area between Lairouching and Karong about 20km north of Senapati town in the evening of October 23.
A truck and two excavators were swept away but no casualty was reported till the time of filing this report.
Cash, Gold Seized from AG Accountant
The house of a senior official of the Accountant General Office in Imphal was raided by the CBI on October 23 and Rs. 54 lakh in cash, and gold ornaments worth Rs. 24 lakh unearthed during the operation.
Reports say the raid was conducted at the residence of Konjengbam Ibothem, senior accountant of the Accountant General.
Ibothem hails from Wangoo Sandangkhong but presently stays at Sagolband Meino Leirak under Imphal Police Station.
The CBI ACB Imphal Branch has registered a case against lbothem for possession of disproportionate assets to the tune of Rs.58,75,321 approx.
It is alleged the accused had acquired huge movable and immovable assets in his and his family’s name during 2005 to 2020, reports said.
2 Drug Peddlers Held
A team of Thoubal police on October 22 apprehended two drug peddlers along with a large quantity of suspected brown sugar and other items that are used in manufacturing the contraband drug item.
Reports say that the contraband drugs and other items which are used in manufacturing the drugs were recovered from the house of one Md Abdullah of Lilong Haorou Hangamthabi.
The two accused apprehended are identified as Md Saukat Ali, 35, of Lilong Haorou Hangamthabi and Chinneilam Haokip alias Lalam alias Lamsee, 28, wife of Md Nawaz Khan of Lilong Haorou Hangamthabi.
However, three of the associates identified as Abdullah alias Md Tomba and his wife Rubina, 24, and Md Nawaz Khan, 27, are absconding, police said adding that efforts are being made to apprehend the absconding persons.
Khudeikhullen Gets Water Tank
Khudeikhullen village of Tengnoupal district in Manipur got its first drinking water storage tank with the inauguration of the tank on October 22.
A drinking water storage tank was inaugurated at Khudeikhullen village, Tengnoupal district on October 22 by vice-chairman of ADC Chandel, S Tongpao Mate.
The village which lacked proper water facility rejoiced over the inauguration of the water storage tank. The tank has been set up to provide potable water to the village dwellers of Khudeikhullen village, reports added.