Curtain raiser to the 2017 Assembly polls ? More than a local body polls

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Underlining the Delhi effect. Difficult to believe that this would have been the case if the BJP under Prime Minister Narendra Modi had not swept the Parliamentary elections in 2014. By going full blast against the BJP in at least two meetings (on May 29) for the upcoming election to the Imphal Municipal Corporation on June 2, Chief Minister O Ibobi highlighted the point that this is going to be a fight between the Congress and BJP. A local body election but important it is for this could well be taken as the semi-final to the 2017 finale when the State will go in for the Assembly elections. At the same time it is also significant to note that the indirect acknowledgement of the Congress Government here has come just when Narendra Modi has just completed two years in office at New Delhi. Predicting the outcome of the IMC elections will be hazardous, but it may be safe to surmise that the fight will largely be between the Congress and the BJP and this is where it becomes interesting. One a party which is into its third consecutive term in office and the other which saw no MLA at all in the 2012 Assembly election only to be compensated in the by elections to Thangmeiband Assembly Constituency and Thongju Assembly Constituency last year when the BJP candidates romped home by handsome margins. So it is going to be a fight between the Congress, which has 47 MLAs in the House of 60 and the BJP which has 2 MLAs.

The landslide win of the BJP in the Assam Assembly election will obviously give a big boost to the prospect of the party here and sure enough the BJP candidates in the IMC polls will look to reap the dividends here. This is what the State unit of the BJP will also try to capitalise on and one factor which may work in favour of the BJP comes in the persona of its State unit president Ksh Bhabananda. A green horn in electoral politics but unencumbered by a past. In short a man who is seen as relatively inexperienced but above board. This is what the BJP will try to capitalise on by rolling out a series of allegations against the Congress. The burden of being in power for three consecutive terms, if one may add. As pointed out earlier, the IMC polls may be seen as the semi-final to the Assembly elections scheduled next year and this is precisely the reason why the Chief Minister and other big shots of the Congress have been walking the extra mile in wooing the voters. It is the same with the BJP, with Himanta Kumar Biswa, the newly appointed convenor of the North East Democratic Alliance wooing the voters here. Come June 2 and the people will exercise their franchise rights and how the people vote may just be a curtain raiser to the 2017 Assembly elections.

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