IMPHAL, March 6 (IANS): Manipur's ruling Congress appeared set for a hat-trick in the state, winning 16 seats in the assembly elections till 12.30 p.m. Tuesday, with the other parties far behind.
Results were declared for 23 seats of the 60 assembly constituencies in Manipur till 12.30 p.m. Tuesday, The Congress has won 16 seats so far, state election officials said.
The Trinamool Congress has won three seats, followed by the Naga Peoples' Front (NFP) which won two seats. The Manipur State Congress party (MSCP) and Lok Janshakti Party followed the tally by securing one seat each.
Okram Ibobi Singh seems poised to be the second chief minister in the northeast to make it to the top seat for the third consecutive time in recent times after Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi.
While Gogoi took the party to power in Assam in 2001, 2006 and 2011, Ibobi Singh single-handedly brought the Congress to power in Manipur in 2002 and in 2007.
Congress spokesman in Manipur N. Biren Singh, who has won from Heingang constituency, said the Congress is going to form the next government in the state. "We are going to win not less than 35 seats this time," he said.
The Congress had a tough battle this time as at least 11 non-Congress parties have formed an alliance to stop the Congress from coming to power. The non-Congress parties include the NCP, Manipur People's Party (MPP), CPI, CPI-M, JD-U, National People's Party (NPP), Manipur State Congress Party (MSCP), Trinamool Congress, Lok Jana Shakti Party, BJP and the Naga People's Front (NPF).
What had made it worse for the Congress is the fact that at least seven militant outfits of the state imposed a ban on the party. The militants also attacked several Congress candidates and supporters ahead of the Jan 28 polls.