Imphal: The prestigious Thangmeiband assembly constituency in Imphal (West) district is all set witness a royal battle between former Chief Minister and NCP candidate Radhabinod Koijam and Jyotin Waikhom of Congress in the January 28 Manipur Assembly elections.

Koijam, who is the Manipur state unit president of NCP, will fight it out with Waikhom -- a new face in the Congress.

Others in the fray are M Bhorot Singh of BJP, Joykishan of the All India Trinamool Congress and N Indrajit Singh of the Manipur State Congress Party (MSCP).

Being the sitting candidate, Koijam enjoys a distinct advantage over his Congress rival in the constituency where he got an overwhelming margin in the 2007 Assembly poll.

"The Congress government in the last decade has done nothing for our constituency and we hope that Koijam retains the seat and his party wins," says M Radhakrishnan, an 89-year-old former teacher of Manipur Higher Secondary School, Thangmeiband.

"The Congress government boasts of development works, but near the capital city of Imphal you can see that no development activity has taken place," he claimed.

Koijam has been representing the constituency, traditionally a Congress bastion, for two consecutive terms after he left Congress owing to differences with the party leadership.

"Manipur wants a change and the O Ibobi Singh government has done nothing to ameliorate the sufferings of its people," Koijam told.

"Our party stands for withdrawal of the Armed Forces Special Power Act (AFSPA) which is a long standing demand of the people," he said.

"The other priorities of our party will be to see the end of frequent economic blockades which have caused hardships to the people and protect the territorial integrity of the state," he said.

The constituency with 168227 female and 163416 male voters has 391 polling stations of which 29 have been identified as hyper sensitive.

(Agencies)