Manipur Chief Minister Okram Ibobi Singh on Thursday filed his nomination papers for the upcoming state assembly polls. He said that the Congress party will return with a “thumping” majority and will form the government for the fourth consecutive term.
“The ruling Congress shall win absolute majority in the non-Naga areas. There are 10 seats in the constituencies dominated by the Nagas. We are hoping for at least half,” Ibobi Singh told the media after filing his nomination papers in Thoubal district.
Naga groups are highly opposed to the Congress party and Ibobi Singh. Sources said that many of the politicians were asked to resign from the assembly and contest after joining other parties. Prominent members include veteran Congress legislator Phunzathang Tonsing, Parliamentary Secretary V. Valte and the lone tribal woman assembly member Nemcha Kipgen.
Meanwhile, ‘Iron Lady’ Irom Sharmila on Thursday filed her nomination papers to contest from Thoubal constituency in the Manipur assembly elections.
“I am fighting the Chief Minister. I want to become the Chief Minister to repeal the AFSPA. I will work for economic independence and other welfare measures for the people,” said Sharmila, who came in international limelight by continuing her fast-unto-death for 16 years to demand the repeal of the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act, 1958.
The civil rights activist, a greenhorn in electoral battle, will be pitted against Congress candidate and Chief Minister Okram Ibobi Singh. Thursday was the last day for filing the papers. The two-phased elections are slated to be held on March 4 and 8.
The 44-year-old Sharmila ended her indefinite hunger strike in August last year. She launched People’s Resurgence and Justice Alliance in October last and said she will fight elections from Thoubal as well as Khurai, from where she hails.
Okram Ibobi Singh wished her luck. “It is her democratic right to contest elections. My best wishes are with her,” he said. Manipur will vote in two phases — on March 4 and 8 — to elect 60 members of the state assembly.