UNLF poll ban silences campaign
Source: The Sangai Express

Imphal, April 07: The diktats of the proscribed United National Liberation Front (UNLF) to ban all election related activities for the upcoming Lok Sabha election in the State has dampened the spirit of all the political parties and all the poll related activities have been pushed to the background.

Owing to the total ban, open poll campaigning of all political parties have come to a grinding halt and the fate of the candidates are under a cloud of uncertainty.

UNLF's diktat came close on the heels of boycott call given by two other underground outfits, namely Kanglei Yawol Kanna Lup (KYKL) and Revolutionary People's Front (RPF), against BJP and Congress respectively.

UNLF, while asserting that the conduct of Parliamentary election in Manipur would tantamount to selling off the fundamental rights of the people to the ‘colonial rulers’, among other reasons, has decided to boycott the ensuing Lok Sabha election.

In a statement yesterday, UNLF had directed that all poll related activities, including holding of election meetings, campaigning, canvassing, flag hoisting, etc should be stopped forthwith.

The outfit also warned of severe action against those who defy the diktat.

Meanwhile, State unit BJP president and party's candidate for the Inner seat Th Chaoba, against whom KYKL has passed death sentence today feared that the upcoming Lok Sabha election would not be free and fair ‘since the underground outfits have curtailed the democratic rights of the people to join the poll activities’.

Chaoba was speaking at the Meet the Candidate session organized by Editors' Forum, Manipur at the conference hall of DIPR here today.

At this crucial juncture, Chaoba observed, it is not certain whether the polls could be conducted.

‘‘Now, the whole matter is left to the wisdom of the ECI’’, said a worried Chaoba.

The Congress party which had stopped its open campaign since the RPF imposed a ban on all its candidates, had fervently appealed to the outfit for reconsidering its decision.

A highly placed source in Manipur Pradesh Cong-ress Committee informed that a meeting of the party's election campaign committee would be convened soon to take stock of the present political situation.

‘‘We will ultimately discuss for requesting the UNLF to review its decision of banning Lok Sabha election’’, the source said, adding that so far no public meeting of the party has been conducted since the flag hoisting ceremony conducted for its Inner seat candidate Th Meinya on Friday last.

The CPI, which was at the height of its door-to-door campaign when the UNLF's total election ban called was announced, is also convening an emergency meeting to discuss the matter.

An office bearer of the CPI's campaign committee informed that the line of action to be taken up by the party would be decided during the meeting.

‘‘Since the matter is very serious, I cannot give any comment’, he said.

Unlike in the past few days, CPI workers looked dejected and sat quietly at Irawat Bhavan premises.

Federal Party of Manipur (FPM) has also the same comment to offer and said that an emergency meeting would be convened very soon to discuss the matter.