- A confident BJP is looking forward to the counting of votes on Thursday.
- Congress looks to prevent its rival from returning to power in the state.
With exit polls predicting it to win the Manipur assembly elections 2022, a confident BJP is looking forward to the counting of votes on Thursday, even as a hopeful Congress looks to prevent its rival from returning to power in the state. While the two major parties are expected to be the main protagonists as political drama unfolds in the next few days, others like the National People’s Party (NPP), Naga People’s Front (NPF) and JD(U) could also play crucial roles in the event of a mixed result with no single party securing a majority.
At the BJP’s state office in the heart of Imphal, the mood is upbeat with workers busy cleaning the office premises and erecting fresh party flags on the boundary wall, preparing for Thursday’s results. An office-bearer, who asked not to be identified, said that preparations are underway to felicitate winning candidates when the results are out.
Meanwhile, at the Congress party office less than a kilometre away from the BJP office, it’s a quiet affair with the staff going about business as usual with no elaborate arrangements. Ahead of the polls, Manipur BJP president A Sharda Devi had predicted that the party would win over 40 seats out of a total of 60 constituencies in the 2022 assembly elections. The party has contested in all 60 seats.
In an interview with PTI earlier, she had said this time the party has “the full confidence of winning 40-plus seats” on the back of the developmental work done by the N Biren Singh government and feedback from people on the ground.
On the other hand, former chief minister and Congress leader Okram Ibobi Singh had also exuded confidence that his party would come back to power in the state as people were fed up with “hollow promises and lies” of the BJP government. “Out of the total candidates that we have put up (53), we know the potential of each one and we strongly believe in the winning capability of 40-45 of them,” he had said. However, he had added, “In case we fall short of a majority, there will be a post-poll alliance with like-minded parties.”
Having learnt lessons and to prevent the recurrence of what happened in 2017, when Congress despite winning 28 seats and being the single-largest party, the BJP was able to lure away its elected members to form the government, Singh said the party MLAs would this time take “precautionary measures like staying together at a place”.
The Congress has already announced a pre-poll alliance with CPI, CPM, Forward Bloc, RSP and JD(S). Various exit polls have predicted a win for the BJP in the state with the party slated to secure seats ranging from 23 to 43, while the Congress has been predicted to win between four and 17 seats. NPP is also predicted to win 4-14 seats while the NPF, an ally of the BJP, is expected to win 2-8 seats.
Even in the case of a win for BJP, political observers pointed out that the party will have to overcome internal leadership tussle with incumbent Chief Minister N Biren Singh expected to face a tough challenge from Thongam Biswajit Singh, who held Public Works, Power, Commerce & Industry portfolios among others in the outgoing government.
It will also be interesting to watch which side the candidates, who after failing to get BJP tickets and contested from parties like JD (U) and NPP, take if they emerge victorious. Overall, the stage is set for the political drama to unfold in the next few days in this northeastern state.