Manipur has given a fractured mandate. But, after the election results were announced, the BJP was more enthusiastic than the Congress, which emerged as the single largest party. The BJP got greater vote-share than the Congress.
And the BJP, which drew a naught in 2012 Manipur Assembly election has come second in terms of number of seats won.
The smaller parties have emerged as kingmakers in Manipurafter the election results were announced.
Despite not emerging as the single largest party, the BJP can ethically stake claim to form the next government, if it manages to secure support from the kingmakers, as the party has surpassed the Congress in terms of vote-share.
The BJP recorded over 36.3 per cent votes, higher than the Congress with about 35.1 per cent vote. The BJP is obviously the popular choice in terms of votes.
The credit to make this turnaround in Manipur goes to BJP general secretary Ram Madhav and Assam Health Minister and an old hand in northeast politics Himanta Biswa Sarma. The two have worked tirelessly to increase BJP’s support base in Manipur.
The vote-share gave Sarma and Madhav confidence to claim that the BJP would form government in Manipur.
BJP: PAN-MANIPUR PRESENCE
The BJP was not expected to do well in the Imphal valley after the Naga accord, which was seen by many as a move to challenge the territorial integrity of the state.
But, contrary to the expectations, the BJP won a significant number of seats in the valley. While the Congress won 19 compared to 28 seats last time, the BJP emerged winner in 16 of the 40 Assembly constituencies in the Imphal valley.
Two significant winners for the BJP from valley region are Nongthombam Biren Singh from Heingang Assembly constituency and T Biswajit Singh from Thongju Assembly seat.
Biren Singh and Biswajit Singh are said to be in race for the Chief Minister’s office if the BJP secures enough support in the Manipur Assembly.
THE NUMBERS: MANIPUR ELECTION RESULTS
A look at the final tally of Manipur election results shows that there are more than one key player.
WHO MAY SUPPORT BJP?
The National People’s Party and the Naga People’s Front have shown their inclination towards the BJP than to the hitherto ruling Congress. This takes the BJP-plus tally to 29. The LJP is in coalition with the BJP as NDA partner at the Centre. LJP chief Ram Vilas Paswan has shown his readiness to support the BJP. He does not want to be seen with the Congress when he is a minister in the Modi government.
This takes the BJP-plus tally to 30. Now, the BJP is talking to both TMC MLA and the Independent member of the Manipur Assembly. Himant Biswam Sarma has already said that by Monday, the BJP should be in a position to stake claim to form government. Ram Madhav is there in Manipur.
Ram Madhav has already stitched a difficult alliance in another frontier state, Jammu and Kashmir. Doing a Valley in another valley seems to be the strength of Ram Madhav.