‘Manipur elections and the Naga cause’

Karaiba Chawang

TUNJOY, JANUARY 30: Nagas of Manipur are taking the forthcoming 9th assembly election of Manipur with all seriousness, asserting that it is going to be an historic election with a difference, which is going to change the story of the Naga political struggle. 

Sources said that all UNC candidates and its supporters has been campaigning that this 9th assembly election of Manipur is a crucial one for the Nagas and has been asking all Nagas, not to support it from the developmental point of view, but from the Naga political movement. 

“Earlier election were different, it was for development. But this time it is for Naga political struggle”, Marung Makunga, UNC candidate from Tengoupal AC said. 

He said that Nagas have reached a crucial stage. “Undergrounds have done their part, it is time for us, we people, to show our support”, Makunga said. “Forget development, contract works etc, now let fight for Naga cause’, he continued, while cautioning other candidates not to challenge the nation.

UNC Assembly speaker, Samson Raimei, also termed the election as great opportunity to strengthen the issue of Naga political struggle. He also asked the people to forget development, but put all heads together on how to bring about solution to the Naga struggle.  UNC has also included a provision in its declaration that if its candidates win seats as per its calculation, it would even work towards protection of tribal welfare in Manipur.

Although, this time election appears to be sober and little or no election posters or party steamers or flags seen as usual, momentum is gaining silently in all constituencies of the four Naga hill districts as the countdown to the election draws nearer.

It is quite apparent that, apart from Indian National Congress, regional parties like the MSCP, Federal Party and NNP and other national parties appears to be maintaining very low profile in a manner of kowtowing to the UNC declaration, although they are reported to have set up their candidates in almost all constituencies. 

Source said that some candidates had filed their nomination just to have friendly contest.

In all the eleven constituencies of four hills district, candidates of the Indian National Congress remains a potential threat, despite of the strict UNC position’s paper edict,  said Paul Leo UNC president. 

In 48 Mao A/C, UNC candidate, S. Kho John, is facing a formidable contender, the sitting MLA, RK Thekho of INC, though all his Tunjoy supporters were reported to have deserted him in favour of Kho John. 

Others in the fray are W Joram, Electricity Meter Reader and elders brother of Ashihrii, NSCN-IM’s Chaplee Dy. Kilonser, who is projected to be riches amongst the independent candidates, Manipur PHE Executive Engineer, Hrokho George and two times former minister, M. Thohrii. 

Ironically, in 47 Karong A/C, former 2 times MLA and elder brother of UNC president, Benjamin (Ind) is contesting against the UNC consensus candidate, RV Sharan , besides, veteran politicians like Ex-MLA Janathan, sitting MLA Henry Pouthei (ind) and DD Thatsii (INC). 

In 49 Tadubi A/C, UNC candidate and former Dy speaker, K Raina is facing incumbent minister Ngajukpa Francis of INC, and one independent candidate Kaisii. 

In Tamei A/C- Awangbou (UNC) against INC candidate and incumbent Minister Mangaibo and Lungsubo, in Tamenlong- Samuel jendai, who is being short-listed for UNC candidature will face Dingau Pame (Ind) and Jangamlung Pamei of INC, while for Nungba AC, the UNC is yet to named its candidature, although Prof. Gangmumei has been short-listed. 

In Ukhrul district, Danny Shaiza (UNC), is being pitted against AS Arthur of INC, besides other friendly independent and regional parties candidates for Ukhrul AC, while in Pungyar AC, former Manipur Chief Minister’s Son Victor Kheising will form the formidable rival, besides NNP president, Hungyo, for the UNC’s Wangnao Sangkehising and in Chingai A/C, Khasim (UNC) is being pitted against Aza of INC, and other small time regional parties and independent candidates. 

UNC is yet to name its candidate for Chandel A/C, while Marung Makunga, former minister will be its candidate in Tengoupal AC.

Many national and regional parties’ big whips and veteran politicians were also reported have withdrawn their candidature in favour of UNC candidates. It is also learnt that UNC has decided to take a firm action against those candidates who play truant after they were elected, and the family members of the candidates has been told abide by the vows.