Imphal: The All Tribal Students’ Union Manipur (ATSUM) on Monday sought the intervention of CM N Biren Singh in the long-overdue elections to six Autonomous District Council (ADC) elections.
In a memorandum submitted to CM, the apex students’ body of the tribals in Manipur expressed its disappointment over the request by four ADC chairpersons to extend the term of their office for another six months.
The student body further appealed the Chief Minister to dissolve the councils and conduct fresh elections.
ATSUM in a memo called the request by ADC chairpersons’ selfish.’
And a move aimed at ‘depriving the tribal populace of their constitutional right’. ATSUM president Seiboi Haokip said, “the reasons for asking extension citing COVID-19 and harvest as mentioned by four ADC chairmen is ridiculous and irrational.”
‘People are involved in agricultural activities throughout the year thus, citing ‘harvesting’ as a reason for the extension of ADC term and coining/interpreting it as administrative difficulty as per the Manipur (Hills) District Council Act 1971 is ridiculous,’ states the student’s body.
“Since the election commission of India has already announced the date of the by-election for five Assembly Constituencies of Manipur following COVID-19 protocols. Thus, the intention of extending ADC terms of office on the pretext of COVID-19 pandemic is nothing but to meet whims of few individuals,” says Haokip.
For the safe conduct of the elections, ECI has issued protocols and broad guidelines to be followed during polling.
The other reason given by the council chairpersons for extension was the rains. The union says if the extension is granted, then the next date will fall in between June and July 2021 will again is the monsoon season.
‘It is imperative on the part of the government of Manipur to respect the proposal and recommendation of HAC to hold ADC Election on time. They have to adhere to state government Order No.7/1/2019-Hills (ADC/ELEC) dated 19th March 2020 for holding of ADC Election in the intervening month of October and November 2020,’ demands ATSUM.
The students body plans to start their agitation if their demands are not taken seriously by the government.