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Congress ahead in close race for Manipur

By The Assam Tribune

Imphal, March 11 (IANS): The Congress won two seats, including the prestigious Thoubal, and was leading in 18 seats in Manipur, while the BJP was ahead in 14 seats as results of the Assembly elections came in.

The National People's Party and the Lok Janshakti Party bagged one each out of the four results declared in the Manipur Assembly polls so far.

Out of 49 constituencies for which trends were available, the Congress was leading in 18, and the BJP in 14, while the Left was ahead in four.

Manipur Chief Minister Okram Ibobi Singh of the Congress won in Thoubal constituency, defeating rights activist and PRJA party nominee Irom Sharmila, who got fewer than 100 votes.

The three-time Chief Minister won comfortably with over 15,000 votes. Leitanthem Basanta Singh of BJP came second in the votes.

Sharmila is also contesting from Khurai.

Sharmila, who came in international limelight by continuing her fast-unto-death for 16 years to demand the repeal of the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act, 1958, entered politics saying she wanted to become Chief Minister to repeal the AFSPA.A

The 44-year-old Sharmila ended her indefinite hunger strike in August last year. She launched People's Resurgence and Justice Alliance in October last and said she will fight elections from Thoubal as well as Khurai, from where she hails.

The Congress also won from Thangmeiband, with its nominee Khumukcham Joykishan defeating his nearest rival Jotin Waikhom of the BJP. Joykishan got 11,596 while Waikhom got 11,439 votes.

In the Keishamthong constituency L. Jayentakumar of the National People's Party beat Congress candidate Laishom Ibomcha, who had won the seat five years back on the Nationalist Congress Party ticket. He recently quit NCP and joined the Congress to contest the elections.

In the Langthabal constituency, former minister Okram Joy, a spokesperson of the BJP, was defeated by the LJP candidate Karam Shyam.

Thirty companies of central forces have been deployed to guard the counting centres.

The Election Commission officials are monitoring the counting online with CCTV facilities.

A total of 266 candidates, including 11 women, were in the fray. The BJP contested all the 60 seats and the ruling Congress 59.

While 38 constituencies went to the polls on March 4, the remaining voted on March 8. Manipur saw a voter turnout of 87.51 per cent.

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