21 candidates confirmed to have withdrawn candidatures
Source: The Imphal Free Press

Imphal, January 29: A total of 21 candidates who were to contest in the forthcoming elections to the Manipur legislative Assembly have withdrawn their nomination papers as of yesterday, the last date for such withdrawals, according to updated reports.

Sources at the state election office however said the number is not final, and a final tally will be available only tomorrow.

Chandel district, with just two Assembly constituencies, accounted for as many as nine withdrawals, including the Indian National Congress candidates for both constituencies.

All but one of those who have withdrawn their nomination papers in the district are Nagas, leading to speculation as to whether some unseen forces are at work.

The seven candidates who withdrew their candidature in Chandel Assembly constituency are L Benjamin of the INC, Francis Huten of Samata Party, KL Rocky of the FPM, ST Kalaryi of JD (U), KL Kapoor of the JD (S), SK Suni, Independent and Leo Kamchinthing, Independent.

Two candidates withdrew their candidature in Tengnoupal A/c, former minister Morung Makunga of the LNC and TS Angkham, Independent.

Those left in the fray in Chandel A/c are BD Behring of the BJP, T Chungkhosei Haokip of the MSCP, PL Silanglei, MP, Ch Kopu, NNP, Mangilianthang of the DPP and DN Haokip of the MNC.

The contest in Tengnoupal A/c will now be a straight fight between DK Komnthang of the Samata Party and Onjamang Haokip of the NCP.

Others who have withdrawn their nomination papers are Japao of the JD (U) in Saikul constituency, Lingmikin of the JD (S) and Amer Bhojel, Independent in Kangpokpi A/e, and Th Babudhon of the BJP and M Joykumar, Janata Dal in Jiribam A/c.The Samata Party candidate in Karong A/c, former minister Jonathan has also withdrawn his candidature.

Sources said some of the candidates who filed nomination papers in Chandel district later sought to withdraw their nomination papers by means of fax and there was some confusion over whether the withdrawal can be accepted.

The sources said that when the Election Commission of India was consulted, the ECI informed that it was within the power of the Returning Officer.

It is unclear whether the concerned RO accepted the withdrawal by fax.