IMPHAL: Altogether 15 candidates who have filed nomination papers for contesting the by-polls in five Assembly constituencies have cleared the scrutiny on Wednesday.
The Assembly constituencies where by-polls are being conducted are 30-Lilong AC, 22-Wangoi AC, 34-Wangjing-Tentha AC, 60-Singhat AC and 51-Saitu AC.
Altogether 16 candidates had filed their nomination papers for the by-polls in the five assembly constituencies of the state. Scrutiny of the nomination papers was conducted at the offices of the respective returning officers. Nomination papers of 15 candidates were accepted while one was rejected.
All five candidates who filed their nomination papers for 30-Lilong AC, cleared the scrutiny held at the RO office. They are outgoing MLA Md. Abdul Nasir (Independent), Md. Abdul Zabar Khan (Independent), Y. Antas Khan (Independent), Wangmayum Reshma (Independent), and Md. Azijul Haque Khan (INC).
Independent candidate Wangmayum Reshma is the wife of another independent candidate Y. Antas Khan.
During the scrutiny held at the RO office on Wednesday, independent candidate Wangmayaum Reshma raised an objection to the nomination paper of ex-MLA Abdul Nasir, stating that the academic age of the ex-MLA mentioned in the nomination form does not reach the eligibility age to appear the Matric exam.
She questioned if any student could appear in the matriculation exam at the age of 11 and demanded the RO to reject the nomination paper of ex-MLA Abdul Nasir, who recently vacated the seat of Lilong AC to support the BJP government.
However, the returning officer accepted the nomination of the ex-MLA, directing her to approach the competent court as the matter could not be settled at RO level.
Independent candidate Reshma who came out from the RO office after the scrutiny told reporters that the academic age of Abdul Nasir mentioned in his nomination form showed that the ex-MLA appeared for the matriculation exam at the age of 11 years. It is illegal, she said and added that she would go to the court.
Notably, ex-MLA Abdul Nasir was a minister during the then Congress government led by Chief Minister O Ibobi. He was elected on a Congress ticket in the last Assembly election 2017. He resigned from the MLA post and Congress to support the current BJP government. However, unlike others, Nasir did not join BJP. He opted for contesting the by-poll as an independent candidate. As there is a mutual understanding between BJP and Nasir, the party decided not to field any party candidate in Lilong AC to support Nasir, sources said.
Lilong is the only Assembly constituency where BJP does not field any candidate.
For 34-Wangjing Tentha AC, Congress candidate Moirangthem Hemanta (ex-Minister), BJP candidate Paonam Brojen (ex-MLA) and Independent candidate Sarangthem Manaobi cleared the scrutiny.
Notably, Paonam Brojen was elected on a Congress ticket in the 2017 State Assembly election. He resigned from the membership of Manipur Legislative Assembly and also from the Congress party to support the BJP Government. BJP allotted its ticket to Brojen in recognition of his sacrifice to save the Biren government in trouble.
Congress candidate Moirangthem Hemanta, who is expected to be a main contender of BJP nominee P Brojen, is a former minister who contested the last State Assembly election 2017 on BJP ticket. He resigned from the vice president of BJP Manipur Pradesh and joined Congress.
Independent candidate Sarangthem Manaobi is a retired IPS officer, who had contested election. He also resigned from Congress recently to contest the by-poll as an independent candidate.
For Wangoi AC by-poll, altogether four candidates namely ex- MLA and incumbent Agriculture minister O Lukhoi of BJP, ex-MLA S Joy of INC, Kh Loken of NPP and Independent candidate Moirangthem Totomsana Singh alias Nongshaba filed nomination papers. However, nomination of independent candidate Moirangthem Totomsana Singh alias Nongshaba hailing from Heirok Part-II was rejected by the RO.
Ex-MLA O Lukhoi who is contesting the by-poll as a minister was elected on a Congress ticket in last state Assembly election 2017. He resigned from the MLA post and Congress party to support the BJP government. CM Biren inducted him into his council of minister as a gratitude to his sacrifice to save the BJP Government.
Congress candidate Salam Joy is a former MLA who contested the last Assembly election on a BJP ticket.
NPP candidate Kh Loken contested the last Assembly election 2017 on NPP ticket but lost to Oinam Lukhoi by a narrow margin.
For Saitu AC by-poll, ex-MLA Ngamthang Haokip of BJP and Dr Lamtinthang Haokip of INC cleared the scrutiny.
Ex-MLA Ginsuanhau of BJP and Independent candidate Chinlunthang who filed their nomination papers for Singhat AC by poll also cleared the scrutiny.
The last date of withdrawal of candidature is October 23. Voters will go to polls on November 7. Counting will be done on November 10.