NEW DELHI, March 13 (agencies): Mamata Banerjee`s Trinamool Congress, never before a force to reckon with in Manipur, has won seven seats in the recent assembly elections, overtaking established political forces like the Manipur People`s Party.
However, if Chief Minister Ibobi Singh, re-elected for an unprecedented third consecutive term, is not successful in tackling the woes of the hard-working Manipuris, the state may abandon the Congress, says Nitin Gokhale.
In the hype and hoopla over the Uttar Pradesh election results, the electoral outcome in Manipur, that tiny, beautiful state in the north-east, remained at best a footnote to the grandly-mounted but often vacuous television studio discussions.
But if, in the gloom and doom of losing UP, Punjab and Goa, the Congress had one piece of good news, it was from Manipur.
For the first time in over a quarter century or more, a single party — the Congress in this case — has won an absolute majority in the 60-member state assembly.
Okram Ibobi Singh, a man with no apparent charisma, has delivered the state to the Congress for third time in a row — a la Tarun Gogoi in neighbouring Assam.
In fact, if you cast your eye across the map of India, except for Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh and Kerala (where it rules by the skin of its teeth), the Congress has more governments in the north-east — Assam, Manipur, Arunachal Pradesh, Mizoram and Meghalaya.
So what accounts for Ibobi Singh`s uninterrupted stint in Manipur despite the lack of spectacular achievements and rampant corruption?