After months of speculations, political tussle and the ever-looming threat of the pandemic, the election D-day is here upon us. Five states-Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Punjab, Goa and Manipur will choose their new government for the next five years. At EastMojo, we will focus on Manipur and the battle for Imphal. Find the latest updates below.
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Why Biren Singh says BJP won’t partner with NPP again

The Manipur election results are yet to be compiled and post-poll alliances will not become the hot topic of discussion until tomorrow, but if the words of the Manipur Chief Minister are anything to go by, BJP and NPP are not likely to be mentioned in the same conversation.

Soon after collecting his winning certificate, the incumbent CM said the BJP would talk with ‘like-minded’ parties, minus the Conrad Sangma-led National People’s Party (NPP), for a post-poll alliance. 

Manipur election results live: CM wins Heingang; BJP secures 5 seats, JD(U) 3

Biren Singh’s statement comes in line with the ever-deteriorating relationship between the NPP and the BJP, who were allies until a few months ago. From Meghalaya CM and NPP Chief Sangma saying that it was very challenging to work with the BJP to Deputy CM Joykumar Singh criticising the party, it was clear that the NPP was trying hard to mark its path and it made its stance clear when it decided to fight on 40 seats, which finally came down to 38. 

In simple terms, the NPP made it clear that they were not going to play second fiddle to the BJP, and that they would take on the BJP head-on. This was also a strong statement by Sangma, who remains an ally of the BJP at the centre and in Meghalaya, of their dissent against the state BJP unit. Sangma had ruffled political feathers across the nation by bringing BJP and Congress MLAs together under the Meghalaya Democratic Alliance (MDA), much to the chagrin of both the parties’ state units.

Sangma knows that as Northeast India’s national-level party, NPP cannot sit comfortably in a cocoon in Meghalaya; and Manipur was its first substantial foray outside their comfort zone. That said, Manipur BJP, and in particular, N Biren Singh, were unlikely to forget this criticism, especially when NPP played along as the ally for five years.

The BJP, which has already won 15 seats and is leading on 14 at the time of filing this report, will also be buoyed by its ally, the Janata Dal-United performance. The party, at the time of filing this report, had won five seats and was leading on one. Should the BJP need allies, the JDU and the NPF (which was also an ally in the Biren Singh government) would only be happy to oblige. In short, Biren Singh and Manipur BJP look like they will be spoilt for choice, and in such circumstances, the NPP is not worth considering. 

Manipur Election Results 2022

Result status until 06:30 PM

Chief Minister N Biren Singh assured that the upcoming BJP government in the state will press the Centre to repeal AFSPA from Manipur and solve the issue of unemployment, especially for the youths in the state.

“The BJP government will go together will the like-minded party. But I don’t believe that BJP will go together with NPP,” he added. He also assured to double and speed up the developmental projects in both hills and valleys.

Independent candidate Nishikant Sapam collected his winning certificate from the concerned Returning Officer

CM wins Heingang; BJP secures 5 seats, JD (U) 3

Manipur Chief Minister N Biren Singh defeated his nearest Congress rival P Saratchandra Singh in Heingang, even the ruling BJP won five seats and Nitish Kumar’s JD (U) bagged three constituencies, as per latest ECI data.

Congress and the National People’s Party (NPP) won two seats each. An Independent candidate has also secured victory.

The BJP was leading in 15 seats, while the JD (U) was ahead in three seats and the Congress in two.

Naga People’s Front (NPF) was leading in five constituencies and the NPP in four seats. The Kuki People’s Alliance was ahead in one seat, while Independent candidates were leading in two constituencies.

Counting of votes for 60 assembly seats in Manipur began at 8 AM on Thursday under tight security and strict adherence to COVID-19 protocols.

Trends and results were available with the ECI for 45 constituencies at 3.04 PM.

The BJP had formed the government in Manipur in 2017 despite having just 21 seats, joining hands with the two local parties — the NPP and NPF. The saffron party’s own strength later increased to 28.

The BJP’s impressive show in the Manipur assembly elections is a reflection of people’s acceptance of the party and its governance, state unit president A Sharda Devi said on Thursday.

Buoyant after BJP’s win in one constituency and with trends indicating a lead in 19 seats in the 60-member House, she said the party will not only be able to meet its target of emerging victorious on its own but also defeat big personalities of rival parties.

“This time we’ve been able to do well in areas where we have not won before. The party has gained majorly in pockets which are considered Congress strongholds. It shows that the people of Manipur have accepted us and the governance we’ve provided,” she told PTI here in an interview.

While the final results are awaited, the state BJP chief said her party is confident of securing a majority in the state.

“Apart from targeting 40-plus seats, we had also set out to defeat big opponents of other parties in this election. I believe we have achieved that target as well,” she asserted.

Asked who would be the chief minister and whether the party would form the government on its own or include allies, Sharda Devi said, “That will be decided by our Parliamentary Board in due course of time.”

She also said local parties like the NPF and NPP have hinted at supporting the BJP.

On what message she would like to send to the Congress, which is leading in just three seats, the BJP leader said it’s the people of Manipur who decide the future, growth and development of the state, and elected political leaders only follow their orders.

“The Congress should always remember that,” she added.

Counting of votes for 60 assembly seats in Manipur began at 8 am on Thursday under tight security and strict adherence to COVID-19 protocols.

Trends were available with the Election Commission for 41 constituencies at 2 pm.

In the 2017 elections, the BJP won 21 seats and Congress 28 constituencies.

However, the BJP formed the government with the support of four MLAs each from the Naga People’s Front and the National People’s Party, and one from the Lok Janshakti Party, along with others, including one from the Congress.

Counting of votes polled in the Manipur assembly elections began at 8 am on Thursday under tight security and strict adherence to COVID-19 protocols, officials said.

In the Yaiskul Assembly Constituency, Thokchom Satyabrata Singh is leading with 9346 votes, followed by Huidrom Vikramjit Singh with 8868 votes. Former supercop Thounaojam Brinda is in the third spot with 4519 votes, as per the latest updates.

Independent candidate Nishikant Sapam of Keishamthong Assembly Constituency has won by 187 votes, while, BJP candidate Tongbram Robindro Singh from the Thanga Assembly Constituency has won by 5251 votes.

The BJP is ahead in 22 seats in Manipur, with Chief Minister N Biren Singh leading by a handsome margin of more than 16,000 votes against his nearest Congress rival in Heingang constituency, Election Commission data showed.

The Congress, which had emerged as the single-largest party, winning 28 seats in the 2017 assembly elections, is currently leading in just three seats, including the Thoubal constituency, where former chief minister O Ibobi Singh is ahead of his BJP rival by 1,225 votes.

The National People’s Party is leading in six seats, while the Naga People’s Front is ahead in five seats.

The Republican Party of India (Aathawale), Kuki People’s Alliance and Independents led in one constituency each, according to EC data.

Counting of votes for 60 assembly seats in Manipur began at 8 am on Thursday under tight security and strict adherence to COVID-19 protocols, officials said.

Trends were available for 41 constituencies so far.

The counting of votes is on for 60 assembly seats in Manipur, which began at 8 am on Thursday. The BJP is leading in 22 seats followed by NPP in 6 seats in 41 out of 60 constituencies.

The BJP was leading in 23 seats and the Congress in 12 constituencies in the initial rounds of counting of votes in Manipur.

Counting of votes for 60 assembly seats in Manipur began at 8 am on Thursday under tight security and strict adherence to COVID-19 protocols, officials said.

According to early trends available from all the 60 constituencies, the BJP was ahead in 23 seats, the Congress in 12 and the NPP in 11.

As per the official figure of the Election Commission, the BJP was ahead in 16 seats, the National People’s Party in six, the Congress in five and the JD(U) in three constituencies.

The newly formed Kuki People’s Alliance and an Independent candidate led in one constituency each.

Chief Minister N Biren Singh led with a huge margin of 8,574 votes against his nearest Congress rival in the Heingang constituency, while former CM and CLP leader O Ibobi Singh was ahead by a margin of 472 votes against BJP’s L Basanta.

Congress president N Loken Singh trailed by 4,426 votes against BJP candidate Th Basanta, the EC data showed.

Polling for 60 assembly seats was held in two phases on February 28 and March 5.

The counting, underway in 12 dedicated centres across the northeastern state, will decide the electoral fate of 265 candidates, including nominees of the BJP, Congress, National People’s Party and Janata Dal (United).

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 is seen winning between four and 17 seats.

The counting process started at 8 am with the calculation of postal ballots, to be followed by votes polled in EVMs from 8.30 am in 41 counting halls notified for the purpose, an election official said.

Manipur Chief Electoral Officer Rajesh Agarwal had earlier said district election officers and senior police officers have been directed to make elaborate security arrangements for the exercise.

The entire process of counting will be supervised by 41 General Observers besides the Returning Officers.

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District Election Officer Th Kirankumar said that 3,45,481 votes were cast on EVMs at polling stations out of a total of 3,80,480 votes.

The strong rooms have round-the-clock CCTV coverage, and inspection was carried out on a daily basis, he added.

Prominent candidates in the fray are Chief Minister and BJP nominee N Biren Singh, Assembly Speaker Y Khemchand Singh, Deputy Chief Minister and NPP candidate Yumnam Joykumar and Manipur Congress president N Lokesh Singh.

The reign of Biren Singh can be described in many words, but boring, it was certainly not. From jumping the Congress ship after faithfully serving the party for decades to being invited to form a government despite having only 21 of the 60 seats, Singh has orchestrated a relatively stable government. He has, time and again, been instrumental in the saffron party poaching the powerful Congress leaders, including the former Congress president Govindas Kanthoujam. Biren Singh also attempted to lead from the front against the pandemic, yet, it would be safe to say that Manipur’s woeful public health system stood exposed, and as of today, more than 2,000 people have died due to COVID-19 in a state with less than 3 million people.

Worryingly, while elections took place across five states, only Manipur seems to have witnessed large-scale violence, a trend that continued right up to the day of polling. The elections also saw large-scale defections, with several leaders, including MLAs, ditching party ideologies and joining whichever party gave them a ticket.

From the Heingang constituency, which has only two candidates, one of whom happens to be the CM, to Saikul where a father is contesting against his daughter, there are many interesting battles. Yaiskul sees supercop turned politician Brinda Thounaojam enter electoral politics, hoping to win and open the account for Janata Dal (United). The NPP, which won 4 seats last time, is now eyeing a much larger share of the pie and is contesting on 38 seats. Will they emerge as a viable alternative to the BJP and Congress? Will NPF, a party that vehemently opposes the draconian act AFSPA but supports BJP win many seats? Will Manipur see more women candidates victorious this time? Will the controversial HAC Bill be pivotal in the state’s electoral results? We will have answers to all these questions in the next few hours, so stay tuned!

Also read | Manipur 2022: Confident BJP, hopeful Congress gear up for election results

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