HT Image
HT Image

Three in a row for Congress

The Congress swept Manipur to record its third straight victory under chief minister Okram Ibobi Singh. Rahul Karmakar & Sobhapati Samom report.The clinchers| Guarded celebrations|Ibobi faces bigger challenge within | Tally
Hindustan Times | By Rahul Karmakar and Sobhapati Samom, Imphal
UPDATED ON MAR 07, 2012 03:34 AM IST

The Congress swept Manipur to record its third straight victory under chief minister Okram Ibobi Singh. Its final count of 42 - in a house of 60 - virtually decimated the opposition, which had floated an 11-party alliance to check the Congress run.

After Assam, it is three in a row for the Congress in Manipur also.

"The people have said that there's no alternative to the Congress," Ibobi Singh said after the final results were out. He had, prior to the January 28 election, predicted his party would win between 35 and 45 seats.

It was a verdict that the people had no faith in a multi-party alliance, having experienced a turbulent coalition phase during 2000-01. Among the hardest hit were the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) and the regional Manipur People's Party (MPP), which had cobbled up the five-party People's Democratic Front prior to the polls.

While the MPP was wiped out, the NCP managed just one seat. Both parties had won five each in 2005. The heavyweights of both parties fell by the wayside, prominent among them being former chief minister Radhabinod Koijam (NCP) and O Joy Singh (MPP).

The CPI, too, bit the dust, failing to win any seat. It had won five in 2002 and four in 2007 and on both occasions was part of the Secular Progressive Front government, led by the Congress. The CPI parted ways with Congress prior to the January 28 election and had later joined the grand alliance of opposition.

The Congress camp was restrained in its celebration, almost like its campaign that was affected, following a threat from a coordination committee of seven armed rebel groups.

"The people have voted for our performance and commitment to the territorial integrity of Manipur," senior minister N Biren told HT after retaining the Heingang seat comfortably.

Ibobi Singh won by the biggest margin of 15,453 votes to retain the Thoubal seat. His wife, O Landhoni, wasn't far behind, retaining the Khangabok seat by 9,871 votes. Among the other major Congress victors were veterans Y Erabot Singh (Wangkhei) and PCC president Gaikhangam (Nungba).

Story Saved