Imphal Review of Arts and Politics

Record five women legislators elected this time

Manipur Legislature to Have Five Women Members; Biren Steps Down to Make Way for New Govt; Kayisii to Lead NPP in Assembly; 89.24 Per Cent Voter Turnout

For the first time in the history of 60-Member Manipur Legislative Assembly, as many as five women have come up triumphs in the Manipur Assembly Election 2022 while 17 women candidates contested for the Assembly election.

After the 11th Manipur Legislative Assembly election 2017, the 60-Member Manipur Assembly had only two women legislatures – Nemcha Kipgen, representing the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) from the Kangpokpi Assembly Constituency (AC), and Congress MLA Akoijam Mirabai from Patsoi AC. Mirabai who was a Minister in Okram Ibobi’s government during 2012-2017 returned in 2017 for the second time. However, she lost to BJP’s Sapam Kunjakeswor aka Keba this time. Nemcha Kipgen went on to become the only woman minister in the BJP-led Nongthombam Biren’s government in 2017.

Along with Nemcha Kipgen, four other women joined the winners’ ranks – S.S. Olish (BJP) from Chandel AC; Kimneo Haokip Hangshing (Kuki People’s Alliance) from Saikul AC; Irengbam Nalini (National People’s Party) from Oinam AC; and Sagolshem Kebi (BJP) from Naoriya Pakhanglakpa AC.

Kimneo Hangshing is the daughter of Ngamthang Haokip, BJP candidate who lost the Saitu seat to his independent rival, and the wife of David Hangshing, chief of the Kuki Revolutionary Army (KRA). The outfit is a member of the umbrella Kuki National Organisation under the Suspension of Operation (SoO) with the Government of India (GOI) and Government of Manipur (GOM).

On the other hand, Nemcha Kipgen’s husband is also leader of a Kuki militant group.

NPP’s Nalini from Oinam AC is the wife of former Congress MLA Dr. Irengbam Ibohalbi who died on May 20, 2021 due to COVID-19.

All the winners except Nemcha Kipgen are first timers contesting the Manipur Legislative Assembly Election. While two of these first time winners are from the state’s tribal communities, the other two first-timers are from the majority Meitei community. In all, the 12th Manipur Legislative Assembly will have five women – three from the hill areas, two from the valley areas.

Biren Care Taker CM during transition

Chief Minister Nongthombam Biren along with his colleagues submitting resignation paper to the Governor La Ganesan

As new members of the 12th Manipur Legislative Assembly have been elected, Manipur Chief Minister Nongthombam Biren Singh on March 11 tendered his resignation from the post of Chief Minister to the Governor La Ganesan and will serve as caretaker Chief Minister of the state till the new government is formed in the state.

Taking to his Twitter, Chief Minister Biren said, “Called on Hon’ble Governor of Manipur at the Raj Bhavan to tender my resignation from the post of Chief Minister today. I will now be serving as the caretaker Chief Minister.”

Biren and his party BJP registered a historic victory by winning 32 seats in the 60-member 12th Manipur Legislative Assembly Election 2022. Biren retained his stronghold Heingang AC with a record fifth time win.

Biren defeated his rival Congress candidate P Sharatchandra in a straight fight from Heingang Assembly Constituency in Imphal East, by 18,271 votes, as poll results were declared on March 10. Of the 31,596 total votes received in the constituency, Biren won 24,814 votes (78.54 per cent), while Sharatchandra received 6,543 votes (20.71 per cent), according to the ECI data.

Tadubi MLA N Kayisii Elected Manipur NPP Legislative Leader

The National People’s Party (NPP), Manipur on March 11 unanimously elected N Kayisii who wins Tadubi Assembly Constituency (AC) as the Legislative Leader of Manipur NPP. “May he take the party forward to serve the people of Manipur,” NPP national president Conrad K Sangma tweeted.

NPP fielded 38 total candidates in the 12th Manipur Legislative Assembly Election held in two phases – February 28 and March 5. The party won seven seats. The other winners are Khuraijam Loken from Wangoi AC, Irengbam Nalini from Oinam AC, Thongam Shanti from Moirang AC, Mayanglambam Rameshwar from Kakching AC, Sheikh Noorul Hassan from Kshetrigao AC, and Janghemlung Panmei from Tamenglong AC.

Fifty-one-year-old Kayisii won the Tadubi seat under Senapati district for the second time with 21,601 votes against 21,052 votes of M Francis Ngajokpa of the Naga People’s Front.

Congress Accuses BJP of Disrupting Free and Fair Poll

Of the 11 sitting MLAs of Congress party, six of them including MPCC president Nameirakpam Loken of Nambol Assembly Constituency (AC) and CWC member Gaikhangam of Nungba (AC) lost to their rival BJP candidates in the 12th Manipur Legislative Assembly Election 2022 conducted in two phases – February 28 and March 5. The remaining four Congress candidates who lost in the election are Akoijam Mirabai of Patsoi AC, former MPCC president TN Haokip of Saikot AC, Alfred K Arthur of Ukhrul AC and Md Fajur Rahim of Wabagai AC.

The other Congress MLAs who retain their seats are Thokchom Lokeshwar of Khundrakpam AC defeating his rival candidate Thangjam Mohendro of BJP; Keisham Meghachandra of Wangkhem AC defeating his rival candidate Yumnam Nabachandra of BJP; Surjakumar Okram of Khangabok AC defeating his rival Khundrakpam Menjor Mangang of BJP; and Kangujam Ranjit of Sugnu AC defeating his rival candidate Mayanglambam Binod of BJP.

Meanwhile, former Chief Minister and Congress Legislature Party (CLP) leader in the 11th Manipur Legislative Assembly, Okram Ibobi accused the BJP of disrupting free and fair elections by using money and muscle power to lure and intimidate voters.

“BJP has murdered democracy,” said Ibobi who is also the CLP leader while speaking to the media after collecting his electoral victory certificate from the office of the Returning Officer, Thoubal AC in Thoubal DC office complex, reports said.

With 15,085 votes, Ibobi defeated his closest rival and BJP candidate Leitanthem Basanta, who secured 12,002 votes.

“The result of the election is the verdict of the public and should be respected as such, but at the same time the public should remember the many reports of pre-poll violence and the disruption of free and fair elections,” Ibobi said.

Mentioning the reports of insurgent groups taking over polling booths in the hills areas and the pre-poll violence in the valley areas, the CLP leader blamed BJP’s “undemocratic” actions for the defeat of six Congress candidates, reports added.

89.24 Per Cent Voter Turnout

The 12th Manipur Legislative Assembly elections, 2022, which were held in two phases across 2,968 polling stations in 60 Assembly Constituencies of nine electoral districts witnessed 89.24 per cent overall voter turnout.

According to Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) Manipur sources, the total number of eligible electors in the recently concluded Manipur Elections 2022 was 20,48,169, of which 9,90,627 were males, 10,57,336 females and 206 transgender. The total overall voter turnout of the two-phase elections – February 28 and March 5, including the re-polls, is 18, 27,739.

Chandel district recorded the highest overall voter turnout of 93.94 per cent, while Churachandpur recorded the lowest voter turnout of 79.67 per cent.

An overall turnout of 90.55 per cent was recorded in Imphal East, 90.94 per cent in Imphal West, 90.80 per cent in Bishnupur, 90.51 per cent in Thoubal, 90.26 per cent in Jiribam, 86.56 per cent in Ukhrul, 90.14 per cent in Kangpokpi, 91.90 per cent in Senapati and 86.50 per cent in Tamenglong.

As many as 265 candidates were in the fray for the 12th Manipur Legislative Assembly election. Manipur went to polls in two phases – on February 28 and March 5- and re-polls were conducted on March 5 and March 8.

In the 2017 Assembly Election, Manipur had recorded an overall voter turnout of 86.63 per cent. In the 2020 by-election conducted in five ACs, 92.54 per cent voter turnout was recorded.

Media Debarred at Home Polling of BJP Candidate, Chandel

Media persons were denied entry at the home polling of the BJP candidate of Chandel Assembly Constituency (AC) during the 12th Manipur Legislative Assembly Election 2022 Phase-2, following minor scuffle that took place between alleged supporters of BJP and NPF. Polling agents of NPF candidates were also prevented from discharging their duty in six polling stations by alleged BJP supporters.

Reports said when media persons tried to verify the report of scuffle between alleged supporters of BJP and NPF by visiting the home polling of the BJP candidate, they were denied entry to the village by the locals and denied meeting the BJP candidate, even after showing their identity cards issued by the DIPR and the authority letter of ECI. The locals, who denied entry after talking on the phone, told the media, “Media had come thrice. You guys cannot enter the village.”

The polling stations are 41/26-Mantri Pantha (home polling of the BJP candidate), 41/3-Wangparal, 41/2 Purum Khullen, 41/1 Purum Pantha, 41/10 Betuk Segrang and 41/32 Tonsen. Speaking to the media, those polling agents claimed that they were threatened and stopped from discharging their duties.

Reports said former Chandel MLA ST Victor Nunghlung, who is also a supporter of the NPF candidate, was allegedly assaulted by some miscreants when he visited the 41/3 Wangparal polling station at around 9:00 am. In regards to it, former MLA lodged a complaint to Chandel police station to initiate legal action against the miscreants.

AMWJU Condemns Assault on Scribe

The All Manipur Working Journalist Union (AMWJU) strongly condemned the assault on a video journalist who was covering the second phase the 12 Manipur Legislative Assembly Elections held on March 5 at Charangpat High School polling station, Wangkhem Assembly Constituency (AC) Thoubal district.

AMWJU in a statement issued by General Secretary K Naoba said that the incident occurred at about 10.30 am while L Kanta, video journalist of MAMI TV along with a staff reporter of the same media house, George Sharma, was covering election-related news at the polling station.

The statement said that some unknown miscreants not only physically assaulted Kanta but also snatched away his mobile phone. A complaint has been registered by Kanta himself at Thoubal police station and editor of MAMI TV has also submitted a written complaint to the Chief Electoral Officer Manipur.

AMWJU further said a similar incident occurred against a reporter of TOM TV on February 28 while covering election related news in the first phase of the election at Ningombam, Naoriya Pakhanglakpa AC.

The Union appealed to the authority concerned to investigate the matter and arrest the culprits.

HC Directs NIA to Release Khumlo Anal

The Manipur High Court on March 7 directed the Special Judge, NIA to release Khumlo Abi Anal, leader of the National Socialist Council of Nagaland-Khaplang – NSCN (K), in connection with the ambush at Paraolon in Manipur’s Chandel district in 2015.

Khumlo was arrested by the Manipur Police on June 11, 2015, in connection with the killing of 18 Army personnel in the Paraolon ambush in Chandel district on June 4, 2015. Later, the NIA took custody for further investigation.

Special Judge NIA, however, said the “charges framed against the accused are serious and there is also a high possibility of him absconding if released on bail.”

A division bench of the high court comprising Chief Justice Sanjay Kumar and Justice MV Muralidaran stated that though the offences charged against the accused are serious, he is yet to be proved guilty of the same. Meanwhile, he has spent sufficient jail-time, entitling him to grant of bail.

The accused has been incarcerated for over six-and-half years but the trial may not conclude any time soon. Although the trial is proceeding now, its progress has been adversely impacted by COVID-19 pandemic and there is no guarantee as to how much more time it would take. As, only a fourth of the listed witnesses have been examined till date and the time that would be taken to examine the rest of them cannot even be estimated, stated the division bench.

Wangjing Protests Killing of Amuba

Demanding legal action against the killer of Leimapokpam Amuba alias Arun of Wangjing Hodamba, women folks of Wangjing staged a sit-in protest on March 6 at the new market shed of Wangjing Irawat Lamkhai, in Thoubal district.

Reports said that the deceased Amuba was allegedly shot dead by Haobam Rajen and his son H Rakesh who is personnel of India Reserve Battalion (IRB), resident of Wangjing Wangkhei on March 5, while Amuba and his friends were campaigning for a free and fair election.

In regards to the alleged murder, a JAC against the brutal killing of L Amuba was formed on March 6. As per the resolution taken by the JAC, the family members will not claim the body of late Amuba until justice is served. The JAC has also submitted a memorandum to the chief minister, MLA of Wangjing-Tentha and the deputy commissioner of Thoubal in this regard, reports added.

Reports further said Co-convenor of the JAC, Tekcham Romenkanta informed that the JAC had decided to expel the family of the accused, Haobam Rajen and his son, H Rakesh permanently from Wangjing.

The government should give suitable compensation to the kin of the victim and initiate legal action against the culprit father and son, he said, cautioning to take up intensive forms of agitation if the government remains a silent spectator in their demand for justice, reports added.

Higher Secondary Students Protest

All Manipur Class-XII Joint Higher Secondary Students 2022 on March 8 protested against decision of the Council of Higher Secondary Education, Manipur (COHSEM) to conduct examination in offline mode, stating that most of the classes were conducted online and hence, the examination should be held online.

On December 14, 2021 the Council of Higher Secondary Education, Manipur (COHSEM) published a notification informing students, principals and heads of the institution of Higher Secondary Schools and Colleges under the Council that class 12 and Higher Secondary examinations, 2022 is tentatively scheduled to commenced from the first week of April 2022, reports said.

Further, on March 7, 2022, COHSEM published a notification informing all the concerned principals or Principals in-charge or heads of the institution to take up steps at their end to make examination venue or centre ready and fit for the smooth conduct of the examination amidst the COVID pandemic for the welfare of the students. Even the exam time table and centre were announced, scheduled from April 7.

Raising concerns that when classes were conducted in online mode for the whole year from class 11, the students said exam should be held online, while protesting in front of BT Road on March 7.

Reports said the students demanded a compulsory pass mark for all while calling to save students’ careers. We did not have proper classes due to the pandemic. How we are going to appear in the exam without covering the syllabus, the students asked.

According to the students, they have repeatedly written to COHSEM chairman and even to the chief minister against the announcement of the examination, reports added.

Amid the protest, 10 students met the COHSEM director while a number of students gathered in front of BT park and blocked the road. And as the gathering increased with students from different schools and institutions, the protest grew stronger. Some girl students started blocking the road of Kangla, sitting in the middle of the road. The police had to fire mocked bombs and dispersed them, reports said.

International Women’s Day Celebrated

As celebrated worldwide, several organisations in Manipur carried out different activities, including rally and award presentation to mark the global celebration of ‘International Women’s Day on March 8.

As a part of the observation of IWD-2022 on March, hundreds of women took to the streets to rally for ‘Gender equality today for a sustainable tomorrow’. The rally, organised by the League of Women Manipur, started from Nupi Lan Complex and after passing through Jadonang Park, Keishampat Junction, it culminated at Khwairamband Ima Market.

More Women Representation Needed

Meanwhile, a panel discussion cum interaction session was held in Lamphelpat, Imphal on March 8. The programme was organised by the Manipur State Legal Services Authority (MSLSA) in observance of the International Women’s Day under the theme “Gender Equality Today for a Sustainable Tomorrow”.

Female Healthcare Champions Felicitated

Also, honouring the courage of female healthcare workers during the fights against COVID-19, various healthcare workers in Manipur were felicitated during the celebration of International Women’s Day 2022 in Imphal on March 8.

They were felicitated by the staff of the directorate of Family Welfare Services and State Health Society, National Health Mission (NHM), Manipur with the title “Women COVID-19 Vaccination Champions of Manipur.”

Book Released to Honour Women’s Courage

In Thoubal district, a new book on Thoibi Devi entitled Adhikar Amasoong Khangatlaba Wari Macha Khara by Jugol Sai penned in Manipuri was released in Thoubal on March 8. Copies of the book were distributed free to students and women vendors of Thoubal market as a part of the celebration of International Women’s Day 2022.

Speaking at the event, which was organised by the Readers Collective in association with Waikhom Mani Girl’s College Students’ Union and Thoubal Keithel Phambi Mathak Makha Apunba, author Jugol Sai said that revolutionary minded people attempted to make a progressive and developed society without any discrimination against anyone, reports said.

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