Even as it becomes increasingly likely that Manipur is headed for a hung assembly in the 2017 state elections, there is no doubt that the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has clearly emerged as the big winner in the northeastern state.
The saffron party, which did not even win one seat in Manipur until the 2015 bypolls, bagged over a third of the 60 constituencies on Saturday. And the Congress, which has ruled the state for the last 15 years, lost big.
Compared to the 42 seats it won in the last assembly elections, the Congress's performance has dropped by a third, indicating that the anti-incumbency wave against the Okram Ibobi-led government is high. Even as Ibobi himself won from Thoubal, a constituency that has elected him in the last three elections, his party members did not fare as well.
This was the first time the BJP fielded candidates in all the 60 constituencies in Manipur. It wooed some major Congress leaders months before the elections, and this strategy paid off.
Former Congress vice president of Manipur, N Biren Singh, who joined BJP last October, won the Heingang seat, which has traditionally gone to Congress. Laishram Radhakishore Singh, a former Congress minister who joined the BJP, won from Oinam, another Congress constituency. BJP made similar gains in Mayang Imphal, Keirao, Sekmai, Moirang, and the newly-carved Kangpokpi, which former CM Ibobi had gifted to the Kukis in Manipur, much to the chagrin of the Naga community in the state.
Meanwhile, the Naga People's Front and National People's Party won four seats. Trinamool Congress and Lok Jan Shakti Party also won one seat each, while an independent candidate won another seat.
While it remains to be seen who will form government in Manipur — no party has won an absolute majority and negotiations for alliances are expected to begin soon — this election has nonetheless ushered in a new era in Manipur politics.
Also On HuffPost: