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Congress’s Inner Manipur Candidate Gallops Ahead, BJP Ally NPF Leads In Outer Seat

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The Congress is leading in the Inner Manipur seat, while the Naga People’s Front (NPF) is ahead in the Outer Manipur constituency, according to the Election Commission’s leads.

Congress candidate Angomcha Bimol Akoijam is leading in Inner Manipur over his nearest rival Thounaojam Basantakumar of the BJP by over 62,000 votes.

In the Outer Manipur seat, NPF candidate Kachui Timothy Zimik is leading over his nearest rival Alfred Kanngam S Arthur of the Congress by over 1,900 votes.

BJP-ruled Manipur has only two Lok Sabha seats – Inner Manipur, which is mostly the valley areas, and the Outer Manipur reserved constituency, which covers nearly all the hill areas.

Mr Akoijam, a 57-year-old professor in Delhi’s Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), belongs to the valley-dominant Meitei community. Local sentiments amid the Manipur crisis had indicated he was the preferred candidate in assembly constituencies where the Congress had been traditionally strong. Congress leader Rahul Gandhi had also started the party’s Bharat Jodo Nyay Yatra from an area in Manipur where the party enjoys huge support.

Two Manipur political analysts told NDTV Mr Akoijam’s last-minute political plunge divided the Meitei vote. The Meitei community had clashed with the Kuki-Zo tribes over sharing land, resources, and affirmative action policies. No Kuki-Zo candidate from any party contested the election.

The Opposition bloc INDIA had made the Manipur ethnic crisis a huge election issue. This was one issue which the INDIA bloc had been using to take swipes at the Centre, despite Home Minister Amit Shah and Manipur Chief Minister N Biren Singh’s rebuttal to the Opposition at every turn.

Elections were held in two phases in Manipur on April 19 and April 26.

 The Congress is leading in the Inner Manipur seat, while the Naga People’s Front (NPF) is ahead in the Outer Manipur constituency, according to the Election Commission’s early leads.    

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