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Outer Manipur: Most Critical Constituency in North East with Ethnic Strife in 25 Parliamentary Constituencies

Imphal, April 17 (IANS) Outer Manipur, a crucial Lok Sabha constituency in the northeastern region, faces political, ethnic, and security challenges following recent unrest. Voting will be conducted in two phases – on April 19 and April 26. The BJP is backing NPF nominee Kachui Timothy Zimik for this reserved tribal seat.

In a shift from the ruling BJP, the party is supporting Naga People’s Front (NPF) candidate Zimik in Outer Manipur. The National People’s Party (NPP) has also thrown its weight behind Zimik. The main contenders for the seat are Zimik and Congress nominee Alfred Kanngam S. Arthur, both belonging to the Naga community.

The constituency is witnessing low voter enthusiasm due to ongoing ethnic conflicts between different communities. The Naga-dominated areas have a significant voting population, while the Kuki-Zomi community also holds considerable influence in the region. The election process is seen as a step towards restoring peace in the region.

The Indigenous Tribal Leaders Forum’s (ITLF) advisory urged the Kuki-Zomi community not to field candidates for the election, considering the challenges they face. The forum emphasized the importance of exercising the right to franchise and voting in the upcoming Lok Sabha elections. No organization has officially endorsed any candidate so far.

The recent ethnic violence between the Meitei and Kuki-Zomi communities has claimed several lives and displaced thousands. The riots erupted following a protest march against the Meitei community’s demand for Scheduled Tribe status. Both political arch-rivals in Manipur have come together for the Lok Sabha elections, signaling a shift in the region’s political landscape.

IANS

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