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Congress and Left Front leaders signing agreement to form a pre-poll alliance

Congress Forms Pre-Poll Alliance with Left Parties; COCOMI Demands ‘Special Status’ for Manipur; NPP Releases Manifesto First Amongst Parties

While the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) remain unable to announce its candidates, the Manipur Congress along with five left parties, including CPI, CPI(M), RSP, JD(S) and Forward Block on January 27 announced the formation of a pre-poll alliance for the ensuing 12th Manipur Legislative Assembly election, with a common motive of defeating the BJP.

Reports said the announcement was made during a press conference held at Congress Bhavan, BT Road in Imphal West in presence of the leaders of the six political parties.

The leaders of the political parties said the alliance will be given a name within one or two days and will chalk out a common minimal policy programme in the interest of the public very shortly.

Recently the Congress had released its first list of 40 candidates and the CPI had also named two candidates in its first list of the 60 seats in the Manipur Legislative Assembly. However the remaining four left parties had not announced any of its candidates till date.  Regarding the overlapping of Congress candidate, Kshetrimayum Kennedy and CPI candidate Yengkhom Roma in Kakching Assembly Constituency, CPI State Secretary L Sotinkumar said that the two candidates of the alliance will be contesting in a ‘friendly manner’ in Kakching Assembly Constituency, reports added.

For the CPI candidate RK Amusana of Khurai Assembly Constituency, the alliance had decided to jointly support their lone candidate of the constituency, he informed. The alliance had also decided to jointly support the remaining 39 candidates of Congress collectively to ensure that they win the election, he added.

Former Chief Minister Okram Ibobi while speaking to the media expressed his gladness that the like-minded six secular parties have joined hands to bring a full stop to the BJP-led government and its ‘dictatorial rule.’ If the BJP-led government continues, democracy will go in peril from the state and Manipur will move only backwards in every aspect, added Ibobi who is also the CLP leader.

He alleged that the delay tactics in the conduction of local bodies’ election in Manipur by the BJP-led government is a clear cut example of their dictatorial rule. “Why can’t the state government conduct the local bodies’ election when other states can conduct it during the pandemic?” he questioned.

Seeking the public support and blessing to empower the alliance, Ibobi said, “With the defeat of BJP by the alliance, Manipur will soon open a new era or chapter of development by forming a coalition government, which will work in the common interest of the public.”

The press conference was also attended by president of MPCC N Loken, CWC member Gaikhangam, state secretary of CPI (M) Kshetrimayum Shanta, state secretary of RSP Kangujam Manoranjan, state president (in-charge) of JD (S) K Loken, state secretary of Forward Block Khomdram Gyaneshwar among others.

COCOMI Demands ‘Special Status’ for Manipur

The Coordinating Committee on Manipur Integrity (COCOMI) in a press conference held on January 24 at the Head Quarter of United Committee Manipur (UCM) at Lamphel in Imphal West told that the COCOMI submitted a memorandum to Prime Minister Narendra Modi on January 19 demanding that a special status be given to Manipur as per the resolution of the public convention for ‘Special Status to Manipur’ that was held on December 26 in 2020.

COCOMI Coordinator Longjam Ratankumar told the media that Manipur is one of the oldest nations in Southeast Asia with having a recorded history of 2,000 years under a dynasty with own unique polity, economy, tradition and cultural heritage. This continued till Manipur was made a subordinate native state after the British conquest in 1891 after the Anglo-Manipur war of 1891.

Before the annexation to India, Manipur was not politically related to India and after Manipur was ‘annexed’ by India during the Shillong agreement on September 21, 1949, no representatives from Manipur were made to be involved in making the Indian Constitution, he added.

The memorandum submitted to Prime Minister mentioned that “in 1950, the Government of lndia (GOI) established an Advisory Council of 5 members, 3 from the valley and 2 from the hill with the Chief Commissioner as the president. However, this council was toothless as it was only an advisory body and administration was as per the whims of the Chief Commissioner. While as a union territory, it had no significant power and in 1963 the Manipur Territorial Council was renamed Manipur Territorial Assembly but business was as usual with very limited autonomy. After a long struggle and a series of agitations for 23 years, Manipur was granted Indian statehood on 21st January 1972 but there was no specific constitutional protection as done in the case of Nagaland through Article 371 A. Further, salt was rubbed to the wound when Mizoram was provided with special provisions under Article 371 G.”

The Coordinator of COCOMI said if the Indian Government considered Manipur as a part of the country, then the GOI should provide special status to Manipur.

He further said several civil society organisations had been shouting not to compromise the territorial integrity and boundary of Manipur.  However, as per the article 2 and 3 of the Indian Constitution, a boundary of a state can be created or changed by the Indian Parliament. He said the two articles cannot guarantee the territorial boundary of Manipur.

JCILPS Students’ Wing Protests against Demand for Withdrawal of ILP in Manipur

Decrying the Amra Bengali for filing a complaint in the Supreme Court to withdraw the Inner Line Permit (ILP) system from Manipur, the Students’ Wing of the Joint Inner Line Permit System (JCILPS) torched an effigy of Amra Bengali at Mantripukhri in Imphal East on January 25.

Reports said the Convenor of JCILPS, Students’ Wing Haobijam Chalamba Meitei told the media that the students’ wing strongly condemned Amra Bengali for filing a complaint in the Supreme Court with the demand to withdraw the ILP system from Manipur.

The ILPS implementation came into effect in the state after years of demand by the people of Manipur, he said. While the people are celebrating the implementation of ILP in Manipur by the Government of India, filing a complaint with the demand to withdraw the ILP system from Manipur is unfortunate, he added.

NPP Releases First List of 20 Candidates; First to Release Manifesto

The National People’s Party (NPP) on January 24 announced its first list of candidates for the upcoming 12th Manipur Legislative Assembly Election 2022. The party published the names of its candidates for 20 of the 60 seats in the Manipur Legislative Assembly in its first list.

Deputy Chief Minister Yumnam Joykumar who is also the Chairman of the Election Management Committee of NPP, Manipur announced the list before the media during a press conference held at MAYOL, Iroishemba in Imphal West. The list of the 20 candidates was released after the approval of Conrad Sangma, NPP National President, who is also Chairman of the NPP Central Election Committee.

First list of NPP candidates includes Deputy Chief Minister of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led government, Yumnam Joykumar of 10-Uripok Assembly Constituency (AC) who is also the Chairman of the Election Management Committee of NPP, two former ministers and MLA L. Jayantakumar of 12-Keishamthong AC and N Kayisii of 49-Tadubi AC.

Of the 20 candidates, the other candidates are Laitonjam Jayananda of 3-Khurai AC, Sheikh Noorul Hassan of 4-Kshetrigao AC, Alhaj Mohd Nasiruddin Khan of 6-Keirao AC, Oinam Romen of 13-Singjamei AC, Huidrom Vikramjit of 14-Yaiskul AC, W O Sumati of 17-Lamshang AC, Konthoujam Sarat of 18-Konthoujam AC, Karam Nabakishor of 20-Langthabal AC, Kh Loken of 22-Wangoi AC, Urikkhimbam Ramesh of 23-Mayang Imphal AC, Irengbam Ongbi Nalini of 25-Oinam AC, Thongam Shanti of 27-Moirang AC, N Diten of 33-Heirok AC, Usham Manglem of 34-Wangjing Tentha AC, M Ranjit of 36-Wabagai AC, Maibam Dhanabir of 38-Hiyanglam AC, Lunkhopao (Apao) Haokip of 41-Chandel AC.

In the first list of 20 candidates of NPP, two candidates from the hill districts (Chandel AC and Tadubi AC) were included.

NPP Releases Manifesto

First amongst the political parties of the ensuing 12th Manipur Legislative Assembly Election 2022, the National People’s Party (NPP), Manipur unit, on January 23 released its election manifesto, ‘People’s Action Document 2022’. NPP Manipur President Yumnam Joykumar, Working President L Jayantakumar and National People’s Youth Front’s National President Ratika Yumnam attended the manifesto release programme while NPP National President Conrad Sangma participated virtually.

The important action to be done mentioned in the manifesto is the party’s commitment towards repeal of the Armed Forces Special Protection Act (AFSPA).

The People’s Action Document 2022 drafted by National Peoples’ Youth Front national president Ratika Yumnam in consultation with NPP leaders was released at MAYOL, Iroishemba in Imphal West. It contains 150 commitments in 13 different sectors.

The sectors are political issues, economic and finance, education, environment, healthcare, gender justice, youths, sports, arts and culture, rural economy, tourism, infrastructure, and effective governance mechanism.

NPP National President and Meghalaya Chief Minister Conrad Sangma, who attended the function virtually, stated that unlike the manifestos of other political parties, the manifesto of the NPP includes clear cut stand on all aspects. “I strongly believe that the public will realise the NPP’s commitment and vision for the people of Manipur if any individual goes through the manifesto,” said Conrad Sangma.

Working towards securing the agro-based industries, fishery sector, tourism sector and human resource development for economic resurgence of the state is also included in the list of NPP’s actions to be done.

The People’s Action Document 20222 also promises to give social accountability and transparency on education, quality education and early childhood education among others.

The manifesto also mentions setting up of a specialised training academies and improving upon existing ones for specific sports such as badminton, boxing, football and weightlifting among others.

It further mentioned that NPP will create hybrid power sources by focussing more on renewable resources such as rooftop solar power systems and give stable power supply to all areas of the state.

State Unit President of NPP, Yumnam Joykumar said, the party’s stand has been made very clear in the manifesto that the party will ensure that the vision which lies within the people of Manipur is translated into reality.

When asked about the party’s action plan to towards repeal of AFSPA, he replied, “AFSPA is no longer required in Manipur.” He further explained that when he was the DGP, the state forces were not able to handle the militant issue and situation, so AFSPA was in need during those periods.

“However before my retirement from Manipur police I have made the Manipur police fit enough to handle all law and order situations without external support. So AFSPA is no longer required,” he asserted.

Congress first to release First List of Candidates

Being the first of all the political parties for the 12th Manipur Legislative Assembly Election 2022, the All India Congress Committee on Saturday, January 22 released the first list of Manipur Congress candidates selected by the Central Election Committee (ECE).

As many as 40 candidates, including former Chief Minister Okram Ibobi, have been named in the first list that was released on January 22. The release was signed by in-charge CEC, General Secretary, Mukul Wasnik.

Kh Devabrata, Vice President Manipur Pradesh Congress Committee (MPCC) said the list with 40 names is the first list and the party will release the second list of around 12 candidates by the end of this month and subsequently a few more names.

The party has fielded former AITC candidate Pangeijam Saratchandra against incumbent Chief Minister Nongthombam Biren in Heingang Assembly constituency. Saratchandra loss to CM Biren Singh with a margin of 1206 votes in the last Assembly election held in 2017. Saratchandra got 9,233 votes while CM Biren got 10,439 votes.

In the first list of 40 candidates only two women appeared including the sitting MLA of Patsoi AC Akoijam Mirabai and the other one is Thokchom Ithoibi Oinam AC.

The MPCC vice president further informed that the party is likely to field around 55 candidates.

“We are looking to sacrifice some constituencies in the largest interest of non-BJP parties. Our objective is to defeat BJP and formed the Government. We will emerge as the single party under any circumstances”, said the MPCC vice president.

The intention of our party to announce the list of Candidates before anyone else is to put to rest the baseless speculation of being laying in wait for defection from BJP, said the MPPC vice president.

Enraged Workers of Hiyanglam Congress Burn Party Flag

Enraged workers and supporters of former MLA of Hiyanglam Assembly Constituency and MPCC vice-president Elangbam Dwijamani burned Congress flags and banners to protest against party leadership over the denial of Congress ticket. Dwijamani also resigned from the primary membership of the Congress party on January 23.

Reports said after the publication of the first list of 40 candidates of Manipur Congress, the protesting workers allegedly vandalised the party’s election booths, during which banners and flags etc. were also torn. Workers of Dwijamani allegedly set fire to Congress flags and declared that the Hiyanglam Block Congress Committee and Block Youth Congress Committee had been dissolved.

Meanwhile, Dwijamani announced his resignation from the primary membership of the party. Speaking to the media at his residence at Hiyanglam Awang leikai, Dwijamani blamed the leaders of Manipur Pradesh Congress Committee (MPCC) over the denial of party ticket as the result of their faulty policies.

Congress leaders giving ticket to a fresh candidate not recognised by the DCC and BCC rather than selecting the long-suffering party worker who has been working for the party as Vice-President for 12 years is unjustified, he charged.

He further alleged that the candidate selected for Hiyanglam AC is not enrolled in DCC as a member and pointed out that as per INC constitution, concerned DCC and BCC should be informed about the name of a fresh member newly admitted in the party. He also announced that Hiyanglam BCC, BPCC, BMCC, SUI and other frontals and Cells including Kakching DCC have been dissolved following a meeting, reports added.

It may be mentioned that the Congress office at Kumbi AC in Bishnupur district was closed down and all ranking members resigned last week over the party ticket. They alleged that Manipur Pradesh Congress Committee (MPCC) president Nameirakpam Loken did not listen to the suggestions of the party workers in the assembly constituency on candidate selection.

Kakching Intending INC Candidate Resign from party

Indian National Congress (INC) intending candidate of Kakching Assembly Constituency (AC), Yengkhom Nilachandra along with 350 workers along resigned from the Manipur Congress on January 25 over denial of party ticket for the ensuing 12th Manipur Legislative Assembly election.

Reports said people from Sora, Irengban, Bijoypur and Pallel attended the press briefing that was held at the residence of Yengkhom Nilachandra at Kakching Khullen Leishangbam Pareng. Those who resigned from INC membership include Kakching District Congress Committee Secretary Yengkhom Somarendro; former Chairperson Yengkhom Rajendro; NSUI Kakching district president Kh Rabidas; Kakching Assembly Youth Congress president Kshetrimayum Chinglemba, and many others from Sora, Irengban, Bijoypur and Pallel.

It was also announced that the booth level committees headed by Nilachandra are dissolved. Nilachandra said that he had been working for the public when he was in service. He narrated how he had run pillar to post for getting a Scheduled Caste Certificate for Kakching and the efforts he had put in the field of art and culture, the books he had written and how MANIFA was organised etc.

He expressed his disappointment at being denied the party ticket and alleged that it was given without considering the merit or history of the one who is getting it.  The act has not only hurt him but his workers as well, he said. Although he had thought of quitting, the encouragement and support from his workers made him decide to contest the upcoming election, he announced.

CSIR-CFTRI Resource Centre Set Up in Imphal

A CSIR-CFTRI resource centre has been set up in Imphal. It will operate out of the CSIR-NEIST building at Lamphelpat in Imphal, Manipur.

Stating the need for a CSIR-CFTRI Centre in Imphal, the Apunba Imagi Machasing (AIMS), Manipur said it submitted a proposal to the Science and Technology Ministry of India on November 22, 2018. And, it became a reality on January 24, 2022. CFTRI is one of the constituent laboratories under the aegis of the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), Department of Scientific and Industrial Research, Ministry of Science and Technology, Government of India, New Delhi and is engaged in the field of food science and technology.

AIMS stated in a release that the resource centre was made possible with the help of  Dr. RK Ranjan, Minister of State for Education and External Affairs; MP Lorho S Pfoze, Harsh Vardhan, former Minister of Science and Technology; Jitendra Singh, Minister of State (Independent Charge) of Science & Technology; Shekhar C Mande, Director General, CSIR, New Delhi.

The first CSIR-CFTRI centre was started on October 21, 1950 in Mysore, Karnataka. CFTRI also has its resource centres in Hyderabad, Lucknow and Mumbai, rendering technical assistance to numerous entrepreneurs. The institute’s main focus areas are engineering science, technology development, translational research and food protection and safety.

The resource centre is expected to provide technical support to many food industries in Manipur. It will provide skilled manpower and reduce post-harvest losses of agricultural produce through scientific handling, transportation, storage, and processing. It can also utilize surplus raw materials for value addition and increase farmers’ income. Additionally, it will allow for the certification of organic foods, AIMS stated.

‘Henry should be prevented from Contesting Election’

Wangkhei Assembly Constituency MLA Yumkham Erabot on January 25 filed an application to Manipur Legislative Assembly Secretary to disqualify Okram Henry for a period of six years from contesting election under section 8A RP Act.

In the application, Erabot stated that Henry has been declared null and void on the ground of corrupt practice under RP Act by the High Court of Manipur. And even the court specially observed the crime committed by Henry with smuggling of Narcotics Drugs, which is one of the heinous crimes against the society, he stated.

However, though the Manipur State Election Commission was well aware of the High Court order, they deliberately failed to hold Henry as disqualified from contesting election and take appropriate actions under section 8A of RP Act. The State Election Commission even failed to file any complaint or lodged any FIR against Henry, Erabot said.

Yumkham Erabot, through his counsel prayed for declaration of Henry disqualified from contesting election for a maximum period of six years as provided under section 8A of RP Act, reports added.

Oil Tankers’ Drivers Calls Off Indefinite Strike

The indefinite strike by the oil tanker drivers has been called off as Consumer Affairs Food and Public Distribution Minister assured to tackle the security lapses and to take up suitable action against the concerned officials.

A release issued by General Secretary of the All Manipur Petroleum Products Drivers Association on January 25 stated that the ongoing agitation has been called off with immediate effect by All Manipur Petroleum Products Drivers Association and All Manipur BULK LPG Drivers Association.

The strike started from January 21 following the damage caused to their vehicles on Imphal to Dimapur along the National Highway-2 by supporters of the ban on commercial vehicles imposed by the civil organisations in Kangpokpi as a mark of protest against January hit-and-run accident case.

Suspended Congress MLA Kh Joykishan Joins JD (U)

Suspended Congress MLA of Thangmeiband Assembly Constituency (AC) Khumukcham Joykishan has officially joined Janata Dal United in presence of its state president, Hangkhanpao Taithul at its state office located at Keishamthong Hodam Leirak in Imphal West on January 27.

Joykishan had publicly announced on January 26 evening that he will be joining JD (U) at his residence located at Thangmeiband in presence of National Secretary JD (U) and Manipur in-charge Ramprit Mandal.

He told the media at his residence that he has decided to join the party from the advice of his supporters of the Thangmeiband assembly constituency. To make progress, a national party is needed which can give a new light and hope, he said, adding that national president Nitish Kumar is also a respectable politician and a new Manipur can be built under his leadership.

Joykishan on January 27 formally joined JD (U) at its state party office by submitting his primary membership application form to the state president Hangkhanpao Taithul. He appreciated the state president for accepting the application and expressed his support for the ideology of JD (U) which works irrespective of caste, creed and religion, reports added.

Joykishan, who was elected from Thangmeiband constituency and became a member of the Manipur Legislative Assembly since 2012, was suspended from the Indian National Congress (INC) on January 18 on the recommendation of the Disciplinary Action Committee, MPCC.

He was elected as MLA from Thangmeiband assembly constituency under AITC in 2012 election which was his debut election.

Governor Pays Tribute Rani Gaidinliu on 107th Birth Anniversary

Manipur Governor La Ganesan led the people to pay tribute to India’s freedom fighter Rani Gaidinliu on the occasion of her 107th birth anniversary on January 26. The governor paid floral tribute to Rani Gaidinliu at a function held to commemorate the occasion at Rani Gaidinliu Park, which is located at Mantripukhri in Imphal.

Speaking to the members of the Kabui Mother’s Association (KAMA), he said that he has come to the park not only as Governor of Manipur but also as a devotee of Rani Gaidinliu. He said Rani Gaidinliu fought against the mighty British rulers not only for Manipur but also for the nation as a whole, reports said.

The freedom fighter was an inspiration to many Indians who fought for independence during the British rule, he said. He appealed all to follow the footprints of Rani Gaidinliu and nurture the rich cultural values she imbibed.

The governor assured to extend all possible help for the development of the park. It may be recalled that the Rani Gaidinliu Park was inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on March 16, 2018, reports added.

48-Hour Total Shutdown Paralyses Panchayat Areas in Manipur

Panchayati Raj Institutes (PRI) in Manipur has strongly condemned the alleged failure of the state government to release pending funds of Panchayat already sanctioned by the Central government and imposed a 48-hour total shutdown in areas under the jurisdiction of all Panchayats with effect from 6 am January 27 to 6 pm January 28.

Reports said Manipur State Panchayat Parishad president Abdul Latif contended that the state government has been undermining the importance of local self-government. He pointed out that local bodies and people in rural areas are made to suffer as the government ceased funds sanctioned for the development of villages for more than seven-eight months.

Reports said a meeting of representatives of 161 Gram Panchayats and 60 Zilla Parishads that was held at SIRD hall, Imphal East, DC complex, on January 20 had adopted several resolutions.

Moreover, following to the 48-hour total shutdown from 6am of January 27 and sit-in protest staged from January 29 onwards in 18 CD blocks of valley areas, while cautioning that all the consequences during the total shutdown should be borne by the state government.

Reports further said there was a negative net balance of Rs 10,310 crore as on December 2, 2021, according to MGNREGA’s financial statement on the online Management Information System. Rs 1,281 crore was due in unskilled wages, at a time when scores of workers are relying on MGNREGA as a last resort to earn a living in the face of huge employment loss across the country due to the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic. Out of Rs. 1,281 crore, 65 per cent of pending wages were from just three states – Manipur, Nagaland and Uttar Pradesh.

The beneficiaries are entitled to get wage payment within 15 days of closure of muster roll of the work, according to provisions under the Act. Payments worth Rs 8,686 crore were also due to the state in material and administrative components. Rs 73,000 crore was allocated for MGNREGA in the budget for the current financial year (2021-22), an 18 per cent increase in funds allocation compared to the previous financial year, reports added.

Former Jiribam MLA Ashab Uddin, Thongju INC Intending Candidate Preshorjit Join JD (U)

Former Jiribam Assembly Constituency (AC) MLA Ashab Uddin and Thongju AC Indian National Congress intending candidate Shanglakpam Preshorjit along with 25 members of Thongju Block Congress committee, including 13 women Congress workers, joined the Janata Dal – United JD-(U) on January 28.

Ashab Uddin joined the JD-U at its state head office located at Keishamthong Hodam Leirak, Imphal West in the presence of state party Secretary General Maisnam Dorendro.

Before joining JD(U), Ashab Uddin who was elected as an independent candidate in the 2017 Manipur Legislative Assembly election and has been supporting the BJP, has resigned from Manipur Legislative Assembly. In this reagard, Manipur Legislative Assembly Secretary K Meghajit issued a bulletin on January 28. The Bulletin mentioned that “Md Ashab Uddin, elected from 40-Jiribam Assembly constituency has resigned from his membership from the Manipur Legislative Assembly. Consequently, upon his resignation, 40-Jiribam assembly constituency is now lying vacant with effect from Friday.”

Meanwhile, Indian National Congress intending candidate of Thongju AC, Shanglakpam Preshorjit also joined JD-U on January 28 along with 25 members of Thongju Block Congress committee, including 13 women Congress workers at the state head office of JD-U.

Preshorjit along with 25 Thongju Congress workers have joined JD (U) after he was denied Congress candidature for the Thongju AC.

Reports quoting JD (U) State Secretary General Maisnam Dorendro said that both Ashab Uddin and Shanglakpam Preshorjit will contest the coming 12th Manipur Legislative Assembly election in Jiribam AC and Thongju AC respectively as JD (U) candidates.

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