Manipur on Saturday threw up a hung Assembly with the ruling Congress bagging 28 of the 60 seats and the BJP making giant strides to muster 21.
The Congress had won 42 seats in the 2012 Assembly. The BJP, on the other hand, had no members in the outgoing House.
Human rights activist Irom Sharmila, who contested against chief minister Ibobi Singh, could secure only 90 votes and was relegated to the fourth position.
After her dismal showing, Sharmila announced that she would quit politics but continue her fight against the controversial AFSPA in the state. I am fed up with this political system. I have decided to quit active politics. I will move to south India as I need to calm my mind. But I will will continue my fight against AFSPA until and unless it is repealed, Sharmila said.
The Naga Peoples Front (NPF) and the National People's Party (NPP) bagged four seats each. The Lok Janshakti Party and an Independent candidate won one seat each. The Trinamul Congress bagged one seat. The party had won seven seats in the previous assembly polls.
Altogether 29 sitting MLAs including four Cabinet ministers of the Congress Party lost in the husting.
Ibobi Singh romped home comfortably from Thoubal constituency. So also his son and nephew, making three from the same family finding a berth in the Assembly.
The Congress and the BJP each claimed that they would form the government with the support of like-minded parties. State Congress chief T N Haokip told a news agency, We are confident that we will form the next government in Manipur. We are already in talks with like-minded secular and regional parties. State BJP president K Bhabananda Singh also exuded confidence of forming the government in the state. The NPP with four seats is expected to hold the key, as neither the Congress nor the BJP are expected to seek help from the Naga People's Front as it is seen as a party that is seeking to break up Manipur.
Prominent Congress candidates who won included Md Abdul Naser and K Jaikishen Singh. BJP leader N Biren Singh won from Heingang seat. Other prominent winners of the party included Sapam R Singh and Heikham Dingo Singh. But former state BJP chief Th Chaoba lost.