Un­rest Clouds NPF’s Plan for Manipur Polls

Party to con­test 15 seats but most top lead­ers of NPF are yet to hit the cam­paign trail

The Economic Times - - Pure Politics - Bikash.Singh @times­group.com

Guwa­hati: The on­go­ing po­lit­i­cal tur­moil in Na­ga­land has marred Naga Peo­ples Front's (NPF) prepa­ra­tion for Manipur assem­bly polls. NPF, which is the Op­po­si­tion party in Manipur has put up 15 can­di­dates to con­test Manipur polls. How­ever, most of the top lead­ers of the party are yet to hit the cam­paign trail.

NPF, which made its elec­toral début in Manipur in 2012 assem­bly polls won four of the 12 seats it con­tested. NPF’s sup­port base is mainly in the hills, which ac­counts for 20 seats. Though NPF and BJP are part­ners of ruling coali­tion in Na­ga­land both are con­test­ing polls sep­a­rately in Manipur. NPF pres­i­dent Shurhozelie Liezi­etsu told ET, “The on­go­ing cri­sis in Na­ga­land has cre­ated con­fu­sion. How­ever, soon this con­fu­sion will be over and we will be con­cen­trat­ing on Manipur election. We are con­test­ing 15 seats in Manipur. We are work­ing out the strat­egy for Manipur our tally in Manipur will in­crease.” Po­lit­i­cal cri­sis trig­gered by op­po­si­tion to 33% reser­va­tion of women in Ur­ban lo­cal bod­ies (ULBs) re­sulted in tribal bod­ies seek­ing Chief Min­is­ter T R Zeliang’s res­ig­na­tion. Na­ga­land Tribes Ac­tion Com­mit­tee (NTAC), which is spear­head­ing move­ment against 33%reser­va­tion is in­sist­ing on Zeliang’s res­ig­na­tion .

There was large-scale ar­son in gov­ern­ment prop­er­ties in Ko­hima and two per­sons were killed in clashes with po­lice. The gov­ern­ment of­fices are non func­tional since Jan­uary 28 and state is wit­ness­ing se­ries of bandhs.

As an al­ter­na­tive, the MLAs of DAN coali­tion had backed Shürhozelie for the chief min­is­ter ship. How­ever, for­mer chief min­is­ter and Lok Sabha MP from Na­ga­landNeiphiu Rio too has joined the race of chiefmin­is­ter­ship mak­ing the po­lit­i­cal scene fur­ther com­pli­cated. With cre­ation of seven new dis­tricts in Manipur which has invited eco­nomic block­ade from United Naga Coun­cil (UNC) in two high­ways since Novem­ber 1 last year congress is ex­pect­ing to gain some seats in hills. Congress strong­hold in Manipur has re­mained con­fined to val­ley.

Po­lit­i­cal an­a­lysts opined that on­go­ing tus­sle of Na­ga­land will im­pact NPF’s per­for­mance for most of their lead­ers have given cam­paign a miss.

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