Manipur chief minister O Ibobi Singh Thursday filed his nomination from Thoubal Assembly constituency where human right activist turned politician Irom Sharmila and four others including BJP nominee also filed their nomination.
After filing his nomination paper, three time chief minister O Ibobi Singh said that Congress will retain power again by winning over 2/3 of the 60-seat Manipur Assembly which goes on poll in two phases on March 4 and March 8.
He claimed that Congress will win at least 10 out of the 20 ST reserved seats in hill districts and his party will get 50% of the Naga voters in Naga dominated districts.
United Naga Council (UNC) has been agitating against Ibobi led Congress government for creating seven new districts in the run up to the state Assembly despite strong opposition from the Naga body.
Besides cutting the lifelines of the people of the state by imposing an indefinite economic blockade on the national highways, UNC is also picketing government offices in the Naga dominated hill districts like Senapati, Tamenglong, Chandel and Ukhrul hampering processes for the conduct of elections.
Despite all these, the chief minister said the party is expected to win in Ukhrul A/C, Tengnoupal A/C of Chandel and some seats from Senapati and Tamenglong.
Singh, however, said that there may be some ups and down in the seven assembly segments of greater Imphal area but the party position will be improved in other constituencies outside the greater Imphal areas.
To a query on whether Irom Chanu Sharmila is a threat to him, the incumbent chief minister said that “threat” has no room in democracy and everybody can contest election.
Meanwhile, anti-AFSPA crusader Irom Sharmila, who is challenging the chief minister, too filed her nomination as nominee of her recently floated party Peoples’ Resurgence and Justice Alliance (PRAJA).
Shamila is likely to be the principal opponent against the three-time chief minister even though BJP has also fielded Leitanthem Bashanta as party nominee in the constituency.
Others who filed their nomination from Singh’s constituency are Leishanthem Suresh of Trinamool Congress and independent candidate AK Manglemjao. The human right activist turned politician cycled from Imphal to Thoubal which is around 20 kilometer while filing her nomination. She was accompanied by PRAJA convener Erendro Leichombam and some of her followers and supporters.
Sharmila’s PRAJA, making its electoral debut in these ensuing polls, is hoping to make an impact using alternative political practices. The party is depending on crowd funding from supporters and activists to pull off its election expenses.