Giant-killer Wungnaoshang enters record book
Source: The Imphal Free Press

Ukhrul, February 25: Wungnaoshang Keishing created perhaps one of the biggest upset in the history of Manipur’s electoral politics by defeating Rishang Keishing – a feat that was hitherto thought to be impossible.

Wungnaoshang Keishing secured a total of 4412 votes ahead of the man who has been chief minister of the state longer than all others who has ever held the post, Rishang Keishing could manage only 3423 votes.

Wungnaoshang, of the MSCP before the polls was dubbed a ‘nonentity’ but by his feat has etched a name for himself in the state’s electoral history.

Making the story more interesting is the fact that Wungnaoshang was once a trusted lieutenant of the veteran, but for quite sometime now, turned his nemesis.

In Manipur politics, Rishang Keishing, is virtually a living legend having wrested his way to the top job of the state seven times.

Rishang has never previously lost his home Phungyar constituency to anyone since 1972 when Manipur attained its statehood.

He used to win it even without campaigning.

This time however, realizing his shaky position, Rishang, went on campaign spree for the first time, covering all the 46 villages at the 11th hour, but it was too late.

The major reason for Rishang losing this election is seen as his neglect of his own home (Phungyar constituency).

Another factor for his defeat was his opposition of extension of ceasefire to the Naga inhabited areas of Manipur involving both the UNC and the NSCN (IM).

The writing on the wall was clear when Rishang had a close shave when Wungnaoshang Keishing almost beat him in the last 7th Manipur Legislative Assembly elections.

Out of the total eight candidates, four Keishings were in the fray with bitter skirmishes between them.

Rishang secured 3423 votes while Somi Keishing (FPM) secured 3082 votes to be in the third position, while Johnson Keishing (MNC) secured 2513 votes, trailing behind Solomon Ningshen (BJP) with 2583 votes.

The merging of Solomon Ningshen with Rishang Keishing in the 7th Assembly elections assured the victory of Rishang.