Leaders of six political parties including Congress announcing pre-poll alliance in Imphal

The Congress has announced a pre-poll alliance with five other political parties for the ensuing state assembly elections in Manipur.

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The 60-seat Manipur legislative assembly will go to poll in two phases – February 27 and March 3. The notification for the first phase poll in 38 seats will be issued on February 1 and that of the second phase in the remaining 22 seats on February 4.

The parties in the pre-poll alliance with the Congress are Manipur units of CPI, CPI(M), JD(S), RSP and Forward Block.

“The main objective of the alliance is to defeat the BJP in the ensuing elections,” said Manipur Pradesh Congress Committee (MPCC) president N Loken, at a joint press conference of the six political parties held Congress Bhavan in Imphal’s BT Road on January 27.

Loken said the six parties decided to form the alliance with a commitment to prevent the BJP from returning to power after the ensuing elections to the Manipur Assembly. “We will jointly fight the election. We have a common goal of defeating the BJP,” he added.

The press conference was also attended by leaders of all the six parties apart from former state chief minister Okram Ibobi Singh and CWC member G Gaikhangam among others.

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The MPCC president said that the six parties reached an understanding after a prolonged discussion on the political scenario in the state and other four poll-bound states of the country. “We have a strong commitment. I am sure the alliance will defeat the BJP in the ensuing election,” he said.

About the seat sharing, Loken said that as Congress and some other parties had already announced the first list of candidates, they will contest the elections in the constituencies where the parties had already named the candidates. In those constituencies where names of candidates are yet to be announced, the parties agreed to field common candidates, the Congress leader also said.

The Congress had already announced its first list of 40 candidates. The CPI had also announced names of two candidates to be in the fray while CPI(M) in one constituency.

Joining the press conference, CPI Manipur State Council secretary, L Sotinkumar said that the alliance is ready to fight the ensuing poll with all its might to defeat the BJP. The alliance has a common goal to save democracy and the country, according to him.

He alleged that democracy is at stake in this world’s largest democratic country under the BJP rule. He also said that the “undemocratic, communal and unconstitutional activities” of the BJP have forced the political parties to come to a common platform. “The parties in the alliance have a strong commitment to save the country from the fascist force,” he added.

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The CPI leader then said that the poor and working-class people of the country are severely hurt by the rampant privatization and neo-liberal economic policies under the BJP rule. “While pleasing the corporates, the ruling BJP sidelined the poor and working-class people of the country. If the party is allowed to continue to rule, the integrity of the country will be at stake,” he said.

“Not only in the state, the parties in the alliance being national level parties, are also eyeing to defeat the BJP in other four poll-bound states,” he added.

Congress leader and former Manipur chief minister Okram Ibobi Singh said that leaving behind the differences in the political ideologies, the six parties unanimously resolved to form the alliance with the main objective of defeating the BJP-led NDA.

“The need of the hour is not political ideology but to save the country in general and the state in particular,” he said.

“These parties in the alliance have a strong commitment to prevent the BJP-led NDA government from coming to power again not only in the state but also in other states,” Ibobi added.

The former three-time chief minister of Manipur then said that the name of the alliance and its common minimum programme will come up at the earliest, most probably before the issuing date of notification for the first phase poll in the state.

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