The election commission in Manipur announced that the two phases of polling will be held on March 4, 2017 and March 8, 2017. The results will be declared on March 11, 2017 along with those of Punjab, Goa and Uttar Pradesh. Manipur, not being a big state, has two parliamentary constituencies and 60 assembly constituencies. The ruling party is Indian National Congress with the Chief Minister as Okram Ibobi Singh, after its election in 2016 and the Opposition is Trinamool Congress.
On February 7, 2017, the BJP released the third list of two candidates contesting for the elections. The list includes Rajen Singh from Lamseng and K. Krishna Kumar Singh from Bishernpur. While announcing their first list of candidates for 31 out of 60 seats, approved candidates from the Meitei community even in areas which have large Muslim populations such as Keirao, Wabgai and Wangkhem.
Md Anwar Hussain, the only Muslim candidate approved and standing by the party, will contest from Lilong — a constituency with the largest Muslim population in the state. Congress released its list which includes the current Chief Minister of the state, Okram Ibobi Singh as the chief ministerial candidate. Mr. Ibobi, who has been CM for three consecutive terms, told The Hindu, “The party will stage a comeback in view of a slew of the developmental works undertaken by it in the last 15 years.” according to the Firstpost. However, the BJP, which has the only MLA in the 60 member House, says that it will wrest power this time as there is rampant corruption and non-governance.
During the by-election in the Hiyanglam constituency, local media said that each voter was bribed with as much as ₹5,000 — the amount increased as the voting hour drew to a close.
The Indian National Congress (INC), Trinamool Congress (TMC), Rashtriya Janta Dal (RJD), Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) and Bharatiya Janata Party are the main contenders for the win in the state. While Manipur has been a Congress-led state for a long time, the Bharatiya Janata Party is making a lot of efforts to make in the state. After its unexpected and sweeping victory in the Assam Assembly elections in 2016 and a good performance in the recently held municipal elections in Manipur’s capital Imphal, the party has plenty of reasons to be optimistic.
The newest entrant in the rat race is the activist, Irom Sharmila. She is known for her 16 year fast as a protest against AFSPA. Hailed as the ‘Iron Lady’ of Manipur, Irom Sharmila announced the end of her fast in August, 2016. She launched her new party, the Peoples Resurgence and Justice Alliance (PRAJA), to contest in the elections and fuel her cause against the AFSPA. She said that she wold contest from Thoubal and Khurai. While she belongs to Khurai, Thoubal is the Assembly constituency of the chief minister.
Initially the state was a Union Territory. In 1963, the government of Union Territories Act established a Legislative Assembly of 30 elected and 3 nominated members in the Union Territory. The political situation in Manipur was unstable in the late sixties with secessionist and insurgent groups active in the state. The Legislative assembly was dissolved and President’s rule imposed in the state. The Union Territory was now administered by a Lt Governor.
According to the Manipur elections page, Mamata Banerjee, Sharad Pawar and other political parties may also campaign in the polls. Surveys all over the state are conducted on “who will be the CM” and “Who will win the elections by majority” These polls were conducted by the Manipur government.