Header Ads

TOI Story : Nepali hamlet in Kangpokpi (Manipur) votes against 'foreigner' Tag

Times Of India
KALAPAHAR : For the residents of Kalapahar village, who voted on Saturday, the treatment meted out to the lone candidate from their community, Khadga Bahadur Tamang, was very humiliating. This Nepali village comprising over 300 houses in Kangpokpi constituency, the only general seat in the hills, is very unhappy after Tamang was branded as a 'foreigner.' "We have been called foreigners. This is an important issue for us in this election and it will be reflected in our votes," said 35-year-old Amrit Chhetri, who stood in a queue to cast his vote at a polling station in Kalapahar. He added that there is no Congress nominee in Kangpokpi as Tamang was forced to contest as an Independent candidate. Out of the 30,000-strong electorate in Kangpokpi constituency, the number of Kukis and Nepalis is almost equal. But the Nagas, who are in a minority here, can still tilt the balance.

Tamang's problem began when the Joint Committee Inner Line Permit System (JCILPS) said it will not allow any person, whose family came to Manipur after 1951, to contest the assembly election. He had met JCILPS leaders in Imphal and claimed that his family arrived in Manipur in 1937. JCILPS, however, was not convinced with the documents furnished by him. Despite getting a Congress ticket, Tamang contested as an Independent. Sources said Tamang did not want to embarrass Congress in the Imphal Valley because of this issue. Another Gorkha voter, Shyam Gurung, echoed Chhetri's views. Gurung said the Gorkhas now want their representative in the state assembly. Manipur had a Nepali MLA, Kishore Thapa, in the Eighties. In the last 2012 assembly election, Tamang lost to Nemcha Kipgen, the sitting MLA and present BJP candidate, by a narrow margin of 247 votes.

L Haokip, a Kuki tribal in Tumnoupokpi village, did not agree with Chhetri and says it was not an issue for them. He said Nemcha is the only Kuki candidate in the constituency and she has a chance to do well. He added that the Naga votes will be divided as there are two Naga candidates - one in Naga People's Front (NPF) and another in Nationalist Congress Party (NCP). Naga voters in Tagaramphung village are tightlipped and will not talk on how the community will vote. Thangal and Paomei Nagas live in the village. But it is well known that they are unhappy with the creation of new districts by the Okram Ibobi Singh-led Congress government. 


Powered by Blogger.