Crucial questions. Can the Congress party carry on the extremely good show it managed after the Assembly election in 2012 ? Equally important, can the BJP hope to open its account when results of the by poll elections in Thangmeiband Assembly Constituency and Thongju Assembly Constituency are declared after polling day on November 21 ? After the 2012 Assembly election, the Congress has been on a roll in Manipur, returning the highest number of candidates when 42 of its candidates were elected in the House of 60. Not long after this stupendous showing, the Congress managed to add 7 more after all the elected members of the MSCP merged with the Congress, taking its strength to 49. Thangmeiband and Thongju ACs where by elections will be held on November 21, elected All India Trinamool Congress candidates in 2012, before they were disqualified in the earlier part of 2015. In between the Congress did well to wrest Hiyanglam Assembly Constituency in the by election held in 2014 taking its total number of MLAs to 50. By election to Hiyanglam AC was necessitated following the demise of its then sitting MLA M Kunjo of the All India Trinamool Congress. In short it has been the Congress all the way here but this should not be taken to mean that the BJP can be viewed as a push over. After the BJP swept the Lok Sabha elections in 2014, it has done well in the Assembly elections in some States such as Maharashtra, Haryana, Jharkhand, Jammu and Kashmir but bit the dust at Delhi and Bihar.
It is just two ACs and the results will not impact on the stability of the Congress Government here, but there is a reason why many see the November 21 by elections as some sort of a semi-final to the 2017 Assembly election. This is virtually the reason why Chief Minister O Ibobi and Deputy Chief Minister Gaikhangam have been leaving nothing to chance while campaigning for the two Congress candidates. Not that the BJP is lagging behind and this can be confirmed from the canvassing launched by some of the Central leaders here. The interesting question is whether the Central leaders will be able to make an impact amongst the voters of the two ACs. How about the Chief Minister and the Deputy Chief Minister ? Can they influence the voters of the two Assembly segments ? Will people buy their promises and assurances ? Only time can tell, but from the manner in which the two parties have been hitting the campaign trail, nothing is being left to chance. This is about the two political parties, but what is it that the voters want ? Have the candidates and the political parties they represent been able to touch on any topic or subject which interest the voters ? Much will depend on how successfully the two parties are able to address issues which are important to the voters.