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Manipur Assembly Elections 2017: Know all about it and more

Guihiamliu Riamei | New Delhi |

Grappled by the wave of state assembly elections? Here’s all you need to know about the Manipur Assembly elections 2017 and a little bit more:

With the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Congress fighting the main battle in the state, elections to the 60-seat assembly are set to be held in two phases–on March 4 and March 8 and results will be declared on March 11.

The term of current Legislative Assembly ends on 18 March 2017.

While, the BJP is set to contest from all the 60 seats, the Congress will contest from 59 seats. National People’s Party (NPP), the Naga People’s Front (NPF) and Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) are contesting from 21, 15 and 11 seats respectively.

Called the 'Jewel of India’ by Jawaharlal Nehru, the state became a part of India on September 21, 1949.

Core agenda of the state assembly will revolve around the implementation of Inner Line Permit System in the state – to save the indigenous people’s rights and to check the influx of non-locals.

The big question is –– Will the Congress party that has been holding the rein for many years retain power?

The Congress has been in power for 15 consecutive years.

In the 2012 assembly polls, the party won 42 of the 60 seats and the party had won both seats in the 2014 Lok Sabha polls as well.

The state has 18,07,843 voters.

Opposition BJP and some other parties have assured of a "blockade-free Manipur" if voted to power. The state has been badly hit by economic blockade imposed by the United Naga Council (UNC) since November 1, 2016 in protest against the creation of seven new districts.

Addressing a public rally in Imphal ahead of the assembly elections on February 25, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said that opposition parties were spreading lies against the Centre.

“I promise you that nothing in the Naga accord has anything that is detrimental to the people of Manipur. Opposition is lying. There’s not a single word against the interests of Manipuri people,” he said.

The Centre had signed a framework agreement with NSCN-IM in August 2015.

Modi further said that if the BJP came to power in the state, there will be no more economic blockades.

“In the 15 years on Congress rule, Manipur has been ruined as Congress did no development. What Congress did not do in the last 15 years, I assure we will do it in 15 months. There won’t be any economic blockades when BJP comes to power, I assure you this,” Modi added.

The first phase will have 168 candidates in the fray in 38 assembly constituencies.

Of the 60, 38 hill and 22 valley constituencies will go to polls on March 4 in the state.

Eleven independent candidates will contest in the first phase.

Taking the challenge to fight against Chief Minister O Ibobi Singh, Iron Lady' Irom Sharmila filed her nomination papers to contest from Thoubal constituency on February 16. Sharmila announced her party — People's Resurgence and Justice Alliance — in October 2016.

The state will go to polls in the second phase on March 8 for 22 constituencies.