The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) looked set to emerge as the single largest party in the Manipur assembly elections by 11 am, leading in 17 of the 40 seats for which the trends of the results were available on the website of the Election Commission of India, even as it looked that the party may fall short of the desired majority mark.
The state has a 60-seat assembly and 31 is the majority mark. The BJP has contested the election without any alliance and hoped to gain a majority on its own.
From Heingang, the incumbent Chief Minister N Biren Singh had taken an impressive lead of over 14,000 votes, which political observers thought was ‘unsurpassable’.
Former Chief Minister Okram Ibobi Singh of the Congress was leading from Thoubal, though with a thin margin.
Manipur is witnessing a multi-cornered contest with the BJP, the Congress, the National People’s Party, the Naga People’s Front and the Janata Dal (United) in the fray, among others.
Early trends of the elections indicated that other parties, too, were likely to win a significant number of seats, which may lead to the BJP’s need to seek alliance for forming a government.
As of 11 am, the BJP was leading in 17 seats, while the the NPP was leading in seven, the Congress and the NPF were leading in five each, the JD(U) in three seats, and the newborn Kuki People’s Alliance (KPA), the Republican Party of India (Athawale) and an independent leading in one seat each.
About the same time, the BJP’s vote share stood at about 38%, while the vote shares of the Congress, the NPP, the JD(U) and the NPF stood at around 18.%, 14%, 11% and 9%, respectively.
While the NPP and the NPF had been the BJP’s alliance partners in the previous government, they have now kept their doors open for other possibilities. The JD(U) is the BJP’s alliance partner in Bihar and it witnessed a sudden growth in the hilly northeastern state due to a number of disgruntled BJP leaders joining the party.