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Manipur Election Results: Okram Ibobi Singh proves his mettle in strife-torn state

With Allegations Of Corruption, Fake Encounters And Anti-incumbency Putting A Toll On Congress Prospects And Opposition Hoping To Win, Ibobi Proved His Critics Wrong As The Congress Won 42 Seats In The 60-member Assembly.

PTI | Updated on: 11 Mar 2017, 11:52:41 PM
Okram Ibobi Singh


Okram Ibobi Singh earned his fourth consecutive victory in Manipur and has proved that he is the "constant factor" in the strife-torn state.The 68-year-old politician, who had earlier made a record of running three successful governments from 2002-2017 in the insurgency-hit border state, led from the front and helped the Congress to emerge as the single largest party.

 Though his rule was marred by allegations of fake encounters, corruption and human rights violation, Ibobi, withhis decision to create seven new districts, was able to shift the poll plank on the issue of economic blockade and threat toterritorial integrity of Manipur if the BJP comes to power.

The United Naga Council, which imposed the indefinite economic blockade in Manipur opposed the Congress in the elections. The UNC, an apex body of all Naga tribal groups in Manipur, reiterated its support for the Naga People's Front (NPF), an ally of the BJP in the Northeast.

Also Read: As it happened | Manipur Election Results 2017 updates: Fractured mandate in state as Congress wins 28 seats, BJP 21, NPF 4

"Politicians and political parties come, politicians and political parties go in the highly unstable political arena ofManipur. But Okram Ibobi Singh is the only constant factor inthe state politics for the last 20 years," state Congress general secretary Vidyapati Sejam said.

Born in a farmer family on July 19, 1948 in Thoubal Athokpam in Manipur, Ibobi belongs to the dominant Meitei community. He became a part-time contractor after graduation. His political career started in 1981 when he became the secretary of a cooperative society in Thoubal.

Over the years, Ibobi rose through the ranks, and in 1984 he made his electoral debut in politics and won his first assembly election as an Independent. Later on, in 1985 he joined the Congress.

Also Read: BJP secures landslide victory in UP, U’Khand, Congress sweeps Punjab; fractured mandate in Goa and Manipur

After winning the 1990 polls from Khangbok, Ibobi became the housing and urban development minister. He rose within the Congress ranks and became its state president four years later in 1999. He spearheaded the Manipur State Congress at a time when militancy and ethnic conflict were at their peak.

He became chief minister in 2002, when the Congress with just 20 seats formed a coalition government with the CPI and a regional party. Ibobi returned to power in 2007, with 30 seats, one shortof the majority mark. The coalition with the CPI continuedeven after the Left Front withdrew support from the Congress-led UPA.

Also Read: Manipur Results 2017: Modi wave in tough competition with Congress in Imphal

With allegations of corruption, fake encounters and anti-incumbency putting a toll on Congress prospects and Opposition hoping to win, Ibobi proved his critics wrong as the Congress won 42 seats in the 60-member assembly.

After the BJP's massive win in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, its eyes were set on Manipur. What followed was defections of some of the big names such as N Biren from the Congress to the BJP.

With the resurgence of the BJP in the state and several Congress leaders switching over to the BJP, it seemed the Congress was going to have a tough time in these assembly polls.

The anti-incumbency of one-and-a-half-decade of rule seemed to be taking toll on the Congress. "People of this state know that the BJP is responsible for this blockade and have joined hands with UNC, which is athreat to the territorial integrity of Maipur," Ibobi had told PTI during the poll campaign. 

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First Published : 11 Mar 2017, 11:37:00 PM