MSCP grip on B'pur likely to slacken
Source: The Imphal Free Press

Imphal, February 10: As voters of Bishnupur district gear up for the elections due to be held on February 14, 2002, some of the political heavyweights from this district who have held sway over the years are seen as likely to bite the dust.

A total electorate of 1,38,270 voters, excluding service voters, will be electing six representatives out of a total of 34 candidates during the elections.

Even as election campaigning continues at high pitch, the district police has stepped up security measures, in view of the threat issued by an underground group against a particular candidate.

In the last Assembly, the Manipur State Congress Party, MSCP, held all but one of the six constituencies in the district, with party bigwigs Th Bira, Dr Y Jiten, K Govindas, S Bira and H Sanayaima representing Nambol, Oinam, Bishnupur, Kumbi and Thanga constituencies.

L Kerani, who was elected on an INC ticket was the only non-MSCP MLA from the district.

Observers however feel that the MSCP's virtual monopoly in the district would be broken this time.

In Nambol A/c, Th Bira, brother of MSCP president Th Chapba still has strong support, but his election campaign has been seriously hampered by the threat issued by the underground KYKL(O) against him.

The INC's N Loken, who was defeated by Bira by less than a thousand votes, is expected to benefit.

In Oinam A/c, the NCP's L Radhakishore is posing a strong challenge against the MSCP's Dr Y Jiten.

However, with seven candidates in the fray as against only three in the last elections, the vote shares are likely to be fractured.

The INC's Dr M Angouba and the MNC's Th Surjaboro are also reported to have strong support in some pockets of the constituency.

Bishnupur A/c has six candidates in the fray, but the top contenders are likely to be the MSCP's K Govindas and the DPP's N Sanajaoba.

Sanajaoba then representing the BJP, had come in second to Govindas in the last polls, which saw a three-cornered contest.

In Moirang A/c L Kerani, who was elected on an INC ticket in the last polls, has switched parties to the MPP this time.

S Gopal of the FPM, who came in second last time by a margin of just 369 votes, is posing a strong challenge to Kerani, as is the MSCP's Md Abdul Matalib.

In Thanga A/c, the last elections saw a virtual photo finish, with H Sanayaima pipping the second placed candidate, H Kangjamba of the BJP by just 56 votes.

The MPP's S Ibohal was in third place, just 132 votes behind Sanayaima, while the fourth placed candidate, T Mangibabu of the INC.

trailed Ibohal by less than 150 votes.

With all four in tlie fray this lime too, though Sanayaima and Ibohal have since switched loyalties to the NCP and the FPM respectively, knowledgeable sources say it is anybody's guess who will win.

Seven candidates arc in the fray in Kumbi A/c, but S Bira, of the MSCP, N Mangi of the CPI, and A Angousana of the BJP have emerged as front-runners in the campaigning.