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Manipur assembly election 2022: It may be advantage BJP but...

Experts are of the view that this time, the election was held on the basis of personalities and not any party. 

Manipur assembly election 2022 result expert view counting of votes
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New Delhi, First Published Mar 10, 2022, 6:00 AM IST

With almost all pollsters giving an advantageous edge to the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party in the Manipur assembly elections, the experts are of the view that this time, the election was held on the basis of personalities and not any party. 

Talking to Asianet Newsable over the phone, Professor at Manipur University's Dr MC Arunkumar said, "I do not know how the pollsters calculated it. This time there had been many incidents of violence that took place in the valley region between the Congress and the BJP workers while in the hilly region it was between the BJP and other regional parties. So, it cannot be predicted accurately at this time. No one can say that this party or that party would emerge victorious."

On being asked about what were the issues before the voters in this election, he said, "This time there was no election agenda. Last time there were issues like boundary agreement, corruption among others. This time the elections have been held between candidates and not parties. It was personalities driven election in the constituencies."

It must be noted that some of the insurgent groups had issued press releases, urging people to vote in favour of the ruling party. Arunkumar said it was a surprise that this had happened for the first time in Manipur’s elections.
 
"There are some insurgent groups which think only of Manipur as a whole. The majority of them are based in the Valley region. There are some groups in the hilly areas who are more projected for their ethnic interest."

The groups which think of Manipur are indifferent to Indian election systems. They neither interfere nor encourage the people for elections. They do not comment on election issues, he added. 

The ethnic-based groups have openly come in support of the ruling BJP. This is a new development. These groups are under suspension of operations (SOO). In the previous elections, the groups who were under the SOOs or ceasefire never came in open to extend support to any political parties, he added.

Psephologist Amitabh Bhushan, who travelled extensively during the election in the state, said that the BJP has an advantage because of its schemes like free ration, lack of leadership in Congress, infrastructural development among others have worked well in the mass. 

"First time I visited Manipur in 2000 then the markets used to be closed at 5 pm. Now in 2022, I have seen the markets opened at even 11 pm," Bhushan told Asianet Newsable. 

About a week back, senior Congress leader Jairam Ramesh had alleged that the Union Home Ministry and the state government violated the model code of conduct by releasing Rs 15.7 crore on February 1 and Rs 92.7 lakh on March 1 to the banned militant groups under Suspension of Operation. 

"This could influence the electoral outcome in four districts of Manipur," the party had alleged.

The elections in the state were held in two phases. The first phase was held for 38 seats on February 28 and the polling for the remaining 28 seats took place on March 5. The results will be announced today.

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