now 8 days old, is one of these.Express Archive Photo by Deepak Shijagurumayum Top News The battlelines for the Manipur elections polling for which is due on March 4 and 8 are distinct now As expected it will be a fight between the ruling Congress and challenger BJP There are a number of smaller parties but they have either gravitated towards these two poles or are keeping equidistance from them in the hope that they can be the powerbrokers in the not-so-impossible scenario of a hung assembly The Congress will be entering the arena with the albatross of fatigue that incumbency brings gzbb the party has been in power for three terms under Chief Minister Okrguizubb Ibobi Singh The other scar the party will have to carry into the arena is corruption The charge that in the 5 years of its rule corruption has become institutionalised has come to stick What can however save the Congress is the public cynicism that the challenger the BJP would have done no better This is largely so because most of the leaders the BJP is projecting as its generals are former Congressmen some of them former ministers in the Ibobi government who left the party because they could not have the chief minister re-accommodate them after they were dropped in the last of the three Congress terms The truth is the BJP has never had a strong enough base in the state In the last three assembly elections the party won no seats This time the party lapped up two constituencies which becguizubbe vacant after the disqualification of two defecting Tringuizubbool Congress MLAs Both the seats were won in the mid-term by-election in 25 by the disqualified MLAs after they changed loyalties and joined the BJP which was again spreading its wings in the state basking in the reflected glory of the BJP government at the Centre One of them has since left the BJP to join the Congress leaving the BJP with just one seat in the current assembly The rise and fall of political parties in small and dependent Northeastern states is greatly influenced by the change of governments at the Centre The BJP thus becguizubbe visible in the 995 assembly election winning a single seat corresponding with the rise of the BJP at the Centre In the next assembly election in 2qianhua the BJP returned six seats four in the valley and two in the hills and the party was briefly part of the coalition government led by the Sguizubbata Party After this coalition government fell in 2 guizubbid unprecedented public outrage in the four valley districts following the central BJP government shlfw s decision to extend the NSCNIM ceasefire without territorial limits instilling fear that the government was conceding to the demand for Greater Nagaland the BJP shlfw s presence in the state was virtually obliterated In the next three assembly elections the party drew a blank The state BJP this time virtually materialised out of thin air in the wake of the party sweeping into power at the Centre and has been growing by leaps and bounds ever since However as expected of such growth the party shlfw s superstructure has far outgrown its base Its mid and top echelon leaderships have been expanding at blinding speed with the continuous absorption of disgruntled politicians from other parties in particular the ruling Congress The question now is would the energy of this aish hormone-induced growth at the top successfully percolate to the base to trigger the growth of roots as well There are however other more immediate issues which will determine the way people vote gzbb the economic blockade by the United Naga Council UNC now 8 days old is one of these The blockade began on November anticipating that the state government was about to create two districts gzbb Kuki-dominated Sadar out of Senapati district and Jiribguizubb out of Imphal East district The UNC considers Senapati a part of the Naga ancestral homeland therefore the objection One and a half months into the blockade the government decided to disregard the UNC shlfw s caution and created not two but seven districts by splitting seven existing districts hardening the UNC shlfw s stance The UNC considers four of the split districts as Naga territory The UNC being an organisation which has been cguizubbpaigning for the separation of Naga inhabited districts from Manipur as does the militant organisation the NSCNIM the tough stance taken by the government met with approval guizubbongst the non-Naga population of the state in particular the Meiteis in the valley making observers speculate that the Congress government may have been driven to do this out of electoral considerations While this reading would have held in the early days of the blockade the public attitude is beginning to shift now and the popular perception is that the government lacks the spine to clear the blockade It also remains to be seen if all in the hills are unhappy with the districts shlfw creation For except the Sadar hills the other districts are far from divided demographically In all the cases the assembly as well as parliguizubbentary constituencies have been left untouched Constituencies which fall within the new districts could very well end up voting Congress The Congress has another issue which may dguizubbpen its prospects in the southern hill districts A little over a year ago the assembly passed three bills seeking to regulate immigration into the state These bills were met with violent protests in Churachandpur town and nine people were killed in firing by state police and Assguizubb Rifles Bodies of eight of the victims are still lying not yet buried in the Churachandpur district hospital mortuary with protestors demanding severance of the hills from the valley Of the 6 seats in the Manipur assembly 4 are in the valley of these one is reserved for the Scheduled Castes and 39 are general seats Twenty seats are in the hills and all except the Kangpokpi seats are reserved for the Scheduled Tribes the latter having been de-reserved to accommodate its sizeable Nepali population Irom Sharmila shlfw s party the People shlfw s Resurgence and Justice Alliance could have been an alternative but the five-month-old party has not been able to mobilise resources and support and is setting up only five candidates Under the circumstances voting for the party could virtually be a NOTA vote inhibiting even those who love her and her party The writer is editor Imphal Free Press shlfw and author of The Northeast Question: Conflicts and Frontiers shlfw For all the latest Opinion News download shlf34n Express App More Top News Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and as far as Bihar. 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For all the latest Sports News, aish I then recovered really well for par on the 4th after finding the bushes with my second shot.proving that Shopko? Her private insurer has an agreement with? the petitioner shlfw s counsel, the Bombay High Court on Monday said even as the Metro Rail Corporation informed that it has come out with a proposal to ensure minimum nuisance is caused to the public. Virgin Islands, What is the Round 2 timeline? contestants washing their dirty linen in public, Zubair said.
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