Manipur: ECI Orders Probe Against BJP Candidate For Using ‘Armed Groups for Votes’

BJP candidate Benjamin Mate
BJP candidate Benjamin Mate. Photo source: Facebook

Imphal, April 10, 2019

The chief electoral officer (CEO) of Manipur on April 9th, 2019 asked the returning officer of the Outer Manipur parliamentary constituency to enquire into a plea to disqualify the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) candidate Benjamin Mate from contesting the polls on April 11th, 2019 for violating the model code of conduct.

Mate allegedly has been using “KNO (Kuki National Organisation) and other armed militant groups who are under suspension of operation (SOO) with both the state and the central governments” to pressurise the electors into supporting him with ballots.

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The CEO issued the letter following a complaint by Thangminien Kipgen, the candidate from the National People’s Party (NPP) to the Election Commission (EC).

Stating that the content of the NPP’s complaint letter was “self-explanatory”, the CEO P.K. Singh said, “The issues/allegations/submissions made in the said representation may kindly be examined and inquired into in consultation with the concerned stakeholders.” He directed the returning officer to send to him his comments “at the earliest” on the issue.

Singh said the chief secretary of the state has already been requested “to put/confine all the armed cadres of KNO/KNA (Kuki National Army) and UPF (United People’s Front) inside their barracks/camps under the terms and conditions of the SOO.