Politics

From Biren Singh’s Heingang to Morang, Seats That Could Determine Poll Outcome

Polling is underway for the first phase in Manipur as the state goes for assembly polls from Monday. Over 173 candidates are in fray on the 38 seats as around 12 lakh voters were expected to exercise their franchise.

The first phase of polling includes several prominent candidates including Chief Minister N Biren Singh, state minister Thongam Biswajit Singh, speaker Y Khemchand Singh, deputy CM and NPP candidate Yumnam Joykumar and Manipur Congress president N Lokesh Singh.

Here is a list of key Constituencies that could decide Manipur polls:

Morang

BJP MLA Phairembam Saratchandra Singh, who was dropped from the party candidate list for 2022, has joined Congress and is seeking re-election. The ruling BJP has offered party ticket to Mairenbam Prithviraj Singh, who defected from the Congress last year.

The assembly seat is among the three constituencies where the ruling BJP has by-passed its sitting MLA in picking candidates for the 2022 Manipur state election.

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Okram Henry, nephew of three-time Congress CM Okram Ibobi, is contesting from BJP. On the other hand, the BJP had bypassed senior party leader Yumkham Erabot Singh. Erabot had joined the National People’s Party. The Congress has fielded Rajkumar Priyabarta Singh.

However, the constituency with over 30,000 voters, will see a close race between the BJP and the NPP.

Kakching

The BJP has given the ticket to Congress turncoat and sitting MLA Yengkhom Surchandra resulting in protest by party workers. Surchandra Singh is seeking re-election for the fourth time in Kakching constituency.

On the other hand, the Congress and CPI (Manipur State Council) have a pre-poll alliance. But, both the parties have fielded candidates for the Kakching constituency. The Congress fielded Kennedy Singh, while the CPI (MSC) fielded Yengkhom Roma Devi.

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Sitting MLA Khumukchan Joykishan of the Congress was by the party for anti-party activities. But, he was denied the saffron party ticket, which went to Jyotin Waikhom, a BJP senior member.

On the other hand, the Congress has fielded a new face, Hijam Nutanchandra, for the election.

Bishnupur

Govindas Konthoujam, veteran Congress leader and prominent politician, joined the BJP last year and is contesting from the party. Former chief secretary of Manipur Oinam Nabakishor is contesting from the JD(U) while Ningthoujam Joykumar is contesting from the Congress.

Lilong

Lilong, a Congress bastion, could see a changing equation as the BJP has been trying to make inroads in the seat. Md. Abdul Nasir of the Congress, who won the 2017 election, resigned and a bypoll was conducted in 2020. Nasir contested the bypoll as an independent but lost.

Nasir was hoping to contest the 2022 election on a BJP ticket but was denied. He then joined the JD(U). Antas Khan, who beat Nasir in the byelection, joined the ruling BJP and is the party’s candidate for the 2022 polls. The Congress fielded Syed Anwar Hussein.

TENGNOUPAL

Tengnoupal, a reserved seat for Scheduled Tribes, will see a friendly fight between ruling alliance partners NPF and the BJP. Sitting Congress MLA D Korungthang joined the Naga People’s Front (NPF) in the runup to the polls. His opponent is the BJP’s Letpao Haokip, who joined the party last year.

Heingang

N Biren Singh will be contesting from his traditional home seat of Heingang constituency of Imphal East. Biren Singh has won four successful terms from Heingang and is seeking his re-election for the fifth term.

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