BJP's 'Mission Manipur' begins with Imphal civic polls

BJP's 'Mission Manipur' begins with Imphal civic polls
Buoyed by the Assam triumph, the BJP is now gearing up to capture Manipur from Congress, testing the waters in the forthcoming Imphal civic polls.

In its first ever direct showdown with the ruling Congress in the state, the saffron party is fielding 26 candidates to the 27-member Imphal civic body that goes to polls on June 2. 

The situation in Manipur would not be different from Assam. The Okram Ibobi Singh government in the state is 15-years old and only last month his cabinet was reshuffled and the Pradesh Congress Committee rearranged to appease the growing dissent that was getting out of control.

With several protests in the state hinting at growing impatience and anti-incumbency, the BJP smells a chance to repeat its success in Assam.

The on going protests in state capital Imphal and its adjoining areas in demand of an Inner Line Permit (ILP) also seems like the perfect issue for the BJP to bring up the identity politics.

With the growing demand in the civic polls to disenfranchise non-locals and to delete their names, the BJP will have illegal immigration and corruption as its main election issues.

The party may have a new state unit president in Khetrimayum Bhabananda and just two MLAs in the state legislature, but its Assam triumph, coming as it did with just five MLAs, would give all the confidence it needs to capture Manipur that goes to polls in 2017.

The ruling Congress is campaigning for the civic polls on the development plank, which failed miserably in Assam elections.

The historic breach of the Congress fortress has charged up party cadres across the north-east. A victory in Manipur would certainly strengthen its position in the region.

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