IMPHAL, March 1: “Congress party is fully prepared to face re-poll and will abide by the decision of Election Commission of India” declared MPCC president Gaikhangam during a press conference today at Congress Bhavan.
While welcoming the decision of ECI for re-poll for the second time, he expressed his apprehensions if anti-social elements will disturb the electoral process again. He demanded that the ECI ensure a free & fair re-poll by providing a security arrangement that can mitigate a repeat of the recent violent intimidations from individuals or armed elements. Security personnel and polling officials that will perform its duty should be deployed this time around otherwise the re-poll will become a farce, he added.
He charged the ECI of entertaining only the complaints of the opposition parties while ignoring those of the congress party. A cursory look at the places to be re-polled, it appears that the ECI had succumbed to the pressures exerted by the opposition parties, he stated. He further accused the ECI of entertaining complaints from opposition parties even 14 days after the Jan 28 when the rule stipulates that any complaint must be registered before 3.00 pm to the presiding officer on the polling day.
He also accused the ten opposition parties of duplicity and changing its stand against re-poll at the drop of a hat. He considered the coming together of ten opposition parties as a marriage of convenience which does not augur well for the welfare of the state.
While accusing NPF to be a communal party whose stated aim is the integration of Naga areas under one administrative unit, Gaikhanngam stated that the Congress party will not join hands with NPF principally on the issue of safe guarding the territorial integrity of the state.
On the issue of the withdrawal of the CPI from the SPF coalition, Gaikhanngam replied that the Congress will not question the decision of CPI and that Congress had no power to keep them in the coalition against their will. In a tongue-in-cheek comment, he added that while it’s difficult to keep the flock together within the party, it is all the more difficult matter to deal with another party.
Gainkhanngam also stated that there was no leadership crisis within the party as was made out to be in sections of the press. He said that nobody should read too much into the travel of party leaders to Delhi.
Speaking to this reporter, Gaikhanngam confirmed that there was an understanding among the central leadership of Congress, Trinamool Congress and Nationalist Congress Party for a post poll alliance in the state. However, the state leadership of AITC and NCP has denied such an understanding.