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Manipur

In 2007 the Congress Party gained control of the Manipur Assembly, winning 30 out 60 seats, and partnering with the Communist Party of India (CPI) to form an absolute majority. Local parties, including the Manipur People's Party, lost due to their extreme political stances that did not resonate with voters. The Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD), a party that previously didn't have a foothold in Manipur, won enough seats for national recognition under the leadership of former Chief Minister W. Nipamacha Singh. While the result was a victory for Congress, it is unlikely to resolve the pressing social and economic issues that make Manipur one of India's most backward states.

Manipur Legislative Assembly election results indicate that the incumbent Congress is one seat short of majority, but remained the single largest party in the Manipur Assembly, winning 30 of the 60 seats. Congress ally Communist Party of India (CPI) won 4 seats, the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) 5, Manipur People's Party (MPP) 5, Nationalist People's Party (NPP) 3, Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) 3 and Independents 10. The Independents included six candidates backed by the United Naga Council (UNC), the apex body of Nagas which had made the issue of integration of Naga-inhabited areas of Manipur with Nagaland its primary political platform.

The BJP, which had won three seats in 2002, did not win any seats. The RJD for the first time gained a foothold in the state, led by W. Nipamacha Singh, a former Chief Minister and prominent political heavyweight. His campaign consisted primarily of tirades against the corruption of the Congress government and its inability to declare a clear stand on the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA).

The election results indicated that most voters prefer a ruling government with a relatively moderate approach on key issues such as Naga integration and the AFSPA. The Congress position that fragmentation of Manipur was not possible and UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi's emphasizing that the Center was seriously looking into the recommendations of the Jeevan Reddy Committee on AFSPA -- struck a chord with voters.

The regional MPP campaigned with a rabid anti-national and anti-Naga tone and ended up adding only 3 to its previous tally of 2 seats. In addition, the anti-Manipuri and pro-Naga integration stance of the UNC only resonated in districts dominated by ethnic Nagas. Congress's superior statewide organizational network and resources as compared to other smaller parties was also significant factor in its victory.

The reality for most of Manipur's citizens, who live in a one of India's most economically backward states, was that the Congress is the only party with real access to the Central government, which provides the funds to keep the state running. However, it was unlikely that the new government will address the problems of violence and corruption that plague the state. The BJPs vote share in Manipur increased from two percent in 2012, to 36 percent in 2017. The Congresss vote share was 35 percent.

Shri Nongthombam Biren Singh began his career as a footballer, got recruited to the Border Security Force (BSF) and played for its team in domestic competitions. He resigned from the BSF and turned to journalism. He began a vernacular daily Naharolgi Thoudang in 1992 and worked as its editor till 2001. Turning to politics in 2002, Shri Singh joined the Democratic Revolutionary Peoples Party and won assembly election from Heingang Assembly Constituency. He retained the seat in 2007. He continued to serve the state in the capacity of a Cabinet Minister till February 2012.

In October 2016, Shri Singh resigned from the Manipur Legislative Assembly and the Manipur Pradesh Congress Committee, this came after revolt against the then Chief Minister of Manipur, Okram Ibobi Singh. N. Biren Singh formally joined the BJP on 17 October, 2016 and later became the Spokesperson of Party and Co-convener of the Election Management Committee of BJP Manipur Pradesh.

In 2017, he was named the 12th Chief Minister of Manipur. He won the floor test in the floor of the Assembly with the support of 33 MLAs of BJP and its allies. Though the Congress emerged the single largest party with 28 seats in the 60-member house, the BJP with 21 seats got the support of 4 MLAs each from the Naga Peoples Front and the National Peoples Party and one from the Lok Janshakti Party. The BJP also managed to get the support of a few other MLAs, including one from the Congress.He is the first ever BJP Chief Minister in Manipur.

He was committed to transparent, corruption free governance and equitable development of all areas of the State and sections of the Society. Now that Manipur had a BJP-led state government for the first time following decades of Congress rule, expectations were high.

The Naga Peoples Front [NPF] MLAs had four lawmakers in the 60-member Assembly, where the BJP has only 21 and was dependent on other allies for its majority. The BJP-led Manipur government appeared shaky as the Naga People's Front announced on 18 February 2018 that it was likely to withdraw support to it after the Nagaland elections on 27 February 2018.



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