In the meantime, the Congress attempts to extract back power from the ruling BJP- led coalition, which seems to be falling apart with smaller coalition partners deciding to put up candidates against the saffron party.
Moreover, the well-established demand for junking Armed Forces Special Powers Act, economic distress over the land-locked state which has hardly any industries, are expected to figure high on the agenda of the unfolding electoral battle between the two main parties with smaller local parties such as National People’s Party and the Naga People’s Front chipping in with their own demands.
The Bharatiya Janata Party which managed to form a government in 2017 despite having just 21 seats compared to Congress’s 28 by joining hands with two local parties – NPP and NPF – says it is looking to win two-thirds of the seats in the elections to be held in two phases on February 27 and March 3.
Ch. Chidananda Vice President, Manipur Pradesh BJP told PTI, his party’s aim “is to get more than 40 seats in 60-member house” emphasizing for clarity “that is (a) BJP government.”
Evocative of the check within the coalition, Chidananda frankly admitted “in the hill area of the state (dominated by Naga tribes), the main fight will be between BJP and Naga People’s Front (current coalition partner of the BJP).”
The Hindutva card:
Regardless of the differences with partners, both of whom have said they would field candidates against BJP, the saffron party leader said there are about 160 party ticket claimants “including 31 MLAs or ex-MLAs of BJP” seeking nominations for 60 seats in Manipur State assembly, indicative of the popularity of his party. Analysts say dissensions within the BJP and unhappiness among the NPP and NPF partners over its harping on the Hindutva card has brought about a distance between the alliance partners and this may affect the saffron party’s chances at the hustings.
Nevertheless, Manipur-based author and editor and an expert on Northeast Pradip Phanjoubam said, “though there are no pre-poll alliances… we may witness post-poll alliances in case they are needed to form a government.”
ABP News and CVoter conducted an opinion poll to gauge the mood of the voters:
With around two months left for the Manipur Assembly Poll 2022, ABP News and CVoter conducted an opinion poll to gauge the mood of the voters where the ABP News-CVoter survey revealed which party has the voters’ mandate as of now.
According to the ABP News-CVoter Opinion Poll, BJP and Congress seem to be in a close contest for the upcoming elections and Manipur can witness a hung assembly this time. The ABP News-CVoter Opinion Poll reveals the projected range of seats for BJP is 23-27, while Congress can get 22-26 seats, giving the ruling party a tough fight.
While no party appears to have a clear majority, the BJP has been close to the magic number in the previous surveys. From the trend observed in the latest survey, it seems the BJP’s edge over the INC has withered. Naga ethnic party NPF is expected to mop up 2-6 seats and ‘others’ could tag along with the party that will form power.
In terms of vote share, the BJP is projected to get 35.5 per cent votes, a decrease of 0.8 per cent as compared to 2017, while the Congress will also witness a decline in its vote share from 35.1 per cent in 2017 to 32.6 per cent in 2022 assembly elections.