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Amit Shah arrives in Agartala on 2-day poll campaign in Tripura, Manipur

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Agartala, April 14 (IANS) Union Home Minister and senior BJP leader Amit Shah arrived here on Sunday to further step up the ongoing campaign for the Lok Sabha elections.

BJP sources said that Home Minister after addressing an election rally in Tripura's Kumarghat on Monday, would fly to Imphal, where he would address a public meeting and hold meetings with Manipur Chief Minister N. Biren Singh, state BJP President Adhikarimayum Sharda Devi and other senior party leaders.

Both Tripura and Manipur have two Lok Sabha seats each.

Polling would be held in these two northeastern states in the first two phases -- April 19 and April 26.

A senior BJP leader said that the Kumarghat election rally would cover the Tripura East Lok Sabha seat, reserved for the tribals, comprising 30 of the 60 Assembly constituencies.

BJP sources in Imphal said that Home Minister Shah, one of the star campaigners of the ruling BJP, would address an election rally at the Hapta Kangjeibung ground, palace compound, in Imphal East district on Monday afternoon.

Biren Singh and other BJP leaders including state BJP President Adhikarimayum Sharda Devi are also likely to address the gathering.

Party leaders, workers, and people from both Lok Sabha constituencies -- Inner Manipur and Outer Manipur -- would attend the first ever mega public rally since the ethnic violence began in the state on May 3 last year.

A BJP leader said that leaders of the Naga People's Front (NPF), an ally of the BJP, would also attend the election meeting at the Hapta Kangjeibung ground.

After addressing the election rally, the Union Home Minister, before leaving for Delhi, would hold a meeting with the Chief Minister, state BJP President and other senior party leaders.

HM Shah would also inaugurate the BJP party office at Thambal Sanglen in Imphal.

HM Shah's Monday rally would be the first such major election event in Manipur as due to over 11 month-long ethnic strife, no political party has so far organised any kind of election rally in the trouble-torn state.

The campaigns of all political parties are extremely subdued with the leaders mostly using social and traditional media to ventilate their views, statements and appeals.

The leaders of different political parties, both ruling and opposition, are trying to involve various organisations and civil societies to undertake campaigns for their party candidates.

After violence broke out in Manipur on May 3, the Union Home Minister visited the state for four days from May 29 to June 1 last year and held a series of meetings with top officials, politicians, NGOs, before announcing a slew of measures to deal with the ethnic violence between the Meitei and Kuki-Zomi communities. Elections in Manipur's two Lok Sabha seats will be held in two phases.

Six candidates are contesting in Inner Manipur seat while four candidates are in the fray in the Outer Manipur seat, reserved for the tribals.

The Inner Manipur seat will go to the polls in the first phase on April 19 along with some parts of the Outer Manipur constituency (15 Assembly segments).

The remaining parts of Outer Manipur (13 Assembly segments) will vote in the second phase on April 26.

The BJP has fielded Manipur Education Minister Thounaojam Basanta Kumar Singh in Inner Manipur and extended support to the NPF nominee K. Timothy Zimik in the Outer Manipur seat, reserved for the tribals.

The opposition Congress-led INDIA bloc has put up Angomcha Bimol Akoijam for the Inner Manipur seat while Alfred Kanngam S. Arthur has been fielded in Outer Manipur (ST).

Voting will be held in Tripura West and Tripura East Parliamentary constituencies on April 19 and April 26 respectively.

In total, 18 candidates, including two women, are contesting the two Lok Sabha seats.

However, the main contest is expected to be between the BJP and the INDIA bloc, comprising the Congress, CPI-M, and six other parties.

--IANS

sc/pgh


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