N Biren Singh

IMPHAL: Manipur Chief Minister N. Biren Singh on Sunday refuted the accusation that rebels groups were intimidating the people to vote for the ruling BJP.

Chief Minister Singh termed the allegations “baseless”.

He said, in fact, in a recent episode in Saikul in the hilly areas where some cadres of the militant outfits which are now under the ‘Suspension of Operation’ agreement with the government, had stopped the people from attending a BJP election meeting.

Reiterating his confidence that the BJP would get the two-third majority this time, the Chief Minister said that 29 sitting BJP MLAs are contesting the elections and the prospect of their re-electing is very high.

 11 other BJP candidates would also be succeeded easily, he added.

The National People’s Party (NPP), an ally of the Manipur government, earlier wrote to the Election Commission saying that insurgent groups are campaigning for the BJP.

The NPP leaders in Imphal on Sunday said that the ongoing situation is an attempt to jeopardize the conduct of peaceful, free and fair elections in Manipur.

“If the ongoing situation is allowed to prevail, where militant and underground outfits are moving around openly with arms, the electorates will fear and would not come out to vote, which would directly hamper the conduct of elections.

“Therefore, we at NPP would like to urge the authorities to put all underground groups under ‘suspension of operation’ in their respective camps and recover arms from their possession,” an NPP statement said.

Over 2,000 cadres of the pro-talks militant outfits are under ceasefire agreements with the government and they are staying in the 14 designated camps in different parts of Manipur.

The elections to the 60-seat Manipur assembly would be held in two phases on February 28 and March 5.

The counting of votes would take place on March 10.

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