Decks cleared for counting today Possibility of hung House

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D day is here (March 11). Even before the readers read the 11th March, 2017 edition of The Sangai Express with their morning cuppa, all decks would have been cleared to count the votes cast on March 4 and March 8 as well as in the repolls conducted across many polling stations. As notified by the office of the CEO, counting will be held across the district headquarters of Tamenglong, Chandel, Senapati, Churachandpur, Bishnupur, Imphal West, Imphal East, Ukhrul, Jiribam and Kangpokpi. The fight will be close, so close in fact that the exit polls conducted by different agencies, in collaboration with major publishing houses of the country, gave diverse and even conflicting reports. A clear indication that the fight will be close, very close and there is every possibility that Manipur may see a hung House after the results are declared. So voting over, counting over, but there is a strong likelihood that the fight will continue between the two major political parties, the Congress and the BJP and Manipur can certainly expect to see interesting days ahead. Granted if the verdict gives a clear majority to any of the two major political parties, then everything may be settled within a few days or even a few hours, but given the present scenario this is not likely. So the fight may well go beyond the election and it is here that the State may witness some horse trading, with the smaller political parties having a major say in Government formation.
This is where the role of smaller but significant parties such as the NPF, NPP, NEIDP, MNDF etc becomes important and interesting. In the case of a hung Assembly, much will depend on how the two major political parties manage to convince the smaller parties to go along with them. And this is where the position of the Congress becomes interesting vis-a-vis the role of Delhi. With the BJP holding fort in Delhi, this puts the BJP in a stronger position to negotiate with the smaller political parties and remember, the NPF and NPP are already allies of the BJP Government at the Centre. Remember how former Chief Minister of Nagaland TR Zeliang campaigned for the BJP in the Assam Assembly election some time back. The BJP would not have forgotten this and neither will the Congress. The hitch of course is the political ideology of the NPF, which has made it clear that Naga integration is their main agenda, which is anathema to the people of Manipur. How about the NPP ? What would be their position if they manage to win one or two seats ? All possibilities and in just a few hours from now the answer will become clearer and Manipur can certainly expect to see more interesting days ahead.

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