New Delhi: Confident of retaining power in upcoming assembly elections, Manipur’s first BJP Chief Minister N Biren Singh on Sunday asserted that his party will double its tally this time and is trying hard to get a two-third majority on its own and said a post-poll alliance can also be forged if it is required.
He also said that the Congress, the main opposition party in his state, is on the decline not only in Manipur but the entire North-East and that he was confident about the five-year performance of his government finding favour with the electorate.
The Bhartiya Janata Party had formed a government in 2017 despite having just 21 seats compared to Congress’s 28 by joining hands with two local parties – NPP and NPF. Later, the BJP’s own strength increased to 30 after some MLAs defected from the Congress and other parties.
The elections for Manipur’s 60-member state assembly will be held in two phases on February 27 and March 3, while counting of votes will take place on March 10.
“Elections will show a massive change. We will double our seats and we are working hard to get a two-third majority,” Singh told PTI in an interview here.
“We have no pre-poll alliance as yet, but a post-poll alliance can be forged if required,” he added.
The 61-year-old politician, a former footballer and journalist, had first won the assembly election in 2002 as a Democratic Revolutionary Peoples Party candidate and retained this seat in 2007 as a Congress candidate.
He quit Congress in 2016 and joined BJP. He was elected again from his Heingang assembly seat in 2017, after which he was named Manipur’s 12th chief minister and won the floor test with the support of 33 MLAs, including from BJP and its allies.
Sigh is likely to contest again from the same seat.
“We will fight the elections on the plank of peace, development and harmonious co-existence,” said the chief minister, who was in the national capital for meetings with the party’s central leadership over seat-allocation and other elections-related matters.
The top brass of BJP including its president J P Nadda, Union Home Amit Shah, along with the state incharge and Union Minister Bhupender Yadav and BJP spokesperson Sambit Patra, held deliberations on seats about upcoming assembly polls in Manipur.
Yadav and Patra are the state’s poll incharge and co-incharge, respectively.
The meeting was also attended by BJP general secretary (organisation) BL Santhosh.
Besides law and order and the long-standing demand for junking AFSPA, economic woes of the land-locked state which has hardly any industries, are expected to figure high on the agenda of the unfolding electoral battle between BJP and Congress, the two main parties, with smaller local parties such as National People’s Party and the Naga People’s Front chipping in with their own demands.
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