Protests erupt as BJP releases Manipur list - Hindustan Times
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Protests erupt as BJP releases Manipur list

By, Sobhapati Samom
Jan 31, 2022 06:51 AM IST

The inclusion of several former Congress MLAs, some of whom have joined the BJP recently, upset party workers, who burnt party flags, banners and effigies of leaders in several parts of the state, including capital Imphal. Security has been heightened to prevent violence.

IMPHAL/GUWAHATI: The ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in Manipur on Sunday announced its list of candidates for all 60 assembly seats for the upcoming elections amid demonstrations by party workers.

Chief minister N Biren Singh said he was confident that the BJP will come back with an absolute majority in the upcoming assembly election. (PTI)
Chief minister N Biren Singh said he was confident that the BJP will come back with an absolute majority in the upcoming assembly election. (PTI)

The inclusion of several former Congress MLAs, some of whom have joined the BJP recently, upset party workers, who burnt party flags, banners and effigies of leaders in several parts of the state, including capital Imphal. Security has been heightened to prevent violence.

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Also Read | BJP ushered in a state of peace, normalcy: Manipur CM Biren Singh

There are reports that the announcement of the list also led to a spate of resignations by several BJP leaders, some of whom failed to secure tickets. There was no immediate response from the party on the exact number of resignations.

In 2017, BJP came second by winning 21 seats, but was able to upset the Congress, which won 28 seats, and form government with support of the National People’s Party, the Naga People’s Front, and others. Since then many Congress MLAs have crossed over to the BJP.

“Congratulations to all the BJP candidates for Manipur assembly election 2022. With Prime Minister Narendra Modiji and BJP national president JP Nadda’s guidance, I am confident that the BJP will come back with an absolute majority in the upcoming assembly election,” chief minister N Biren Singh tweeted.

Also Read | BJP declares Manipur candidate list; inclusion of former Congress MLAs leads to protests

Singh will seek re-election from Heingang constituency in Imphal East district, the same seat he represented in 2017. This time he will be facing P Saratchandra Singh of the Congress.

The other ministers who will be seeking re-election include Th Biswajit from Thongju, S Rajen from Lamshang, O Lukhoi from Wangoi, Vungzagin Valte from Thanlon and Th Satyabrata from Yaiskul. Former NPP MLA, Letpao Haokip, a minister in the present government who joined BJP recently, will contest from Tengnoupal.

As many as 11 former Congress MLAs, who jumped ship after their wins in 2017 and joined the BJP, were among the 60 candidates the saffron party announced on Sunday. The move upset some BJP workers, who protested in Imphal.

They are Th Shyamkumar (Andro), Rajkumar Imo Singh (Sagolband), Okram Henry Singh (Wangkhei), Oinam Lukhoi Singh (Wangoi), K Govindas (Bishnupur), P Brojen Singh (Wangjing Tentha), Y Surchandra Singh (Kakching), Yamthong Haokip (Saikul), Ngamthang Haokip (Saitu), Chaltonlien Amo (Tipaimukh) and Ginsuanhau Zou (Singhat).

While Shyamkumar was the first Congress MLA to join the BJP immediately after announcement of results, most others, including former Congress state president K Govindas, joined the BJP in recent months. One of them is related to former chief minister Okram Ibobi Singh of Congress while another is related to present chief minister N Biren Singh. Okram Henry Singh is Ibobi's his nephew while Rajkumar Imo Singh is his son-in-law of Biren.

The inclusion of several former Congress MLAs at the cost of BJP old timers didn’t go well with many supporters. The inclusion of former IAS officer, Y Surchandra Singh, who left Congress and joined BJP just 10 days back, peeved several part workers.

The list also included a former Trinamool Congress (TMC) legislator T. Robindro Singh (Thanga), who joined BJP 10 days back, and former Lok Janshakti Party MLA Karam Shyam (Langthabal).

Two former Congress leaders, M Prithviraj Singh (Moirang), who was a runner up in 2017, and Preshow MK Shimray, who came third behind BJP’s Sword Vashum in Shingai seat five years ago and Y Antas Khan, who contested as an Independent in 2017 from Lilong, were also in the BJP list.

Three BJP sitting MLAs, P Sarat of Moirang, M Rameshwar of Kakching and Y Irabot of Wangkhei constituencies, were not listed in the party’s candidates list. They were replaced by three former MLAs in the list.

The BJP list had three women candidates, S Kebi Devi, who will contest from Naoriya Pakhanglakpa seat in Imphal West district, SS Olish for Chandel seat in Chandel district and Nemcha Kipgen for Kangpokpi seat in Kangpokpi district.

Among the new faces, L Basanta Singh will contest against former chief minister and Congress heavyweight O Ibobi Singh from Thoubal, while former national footballer Somtai Shaiza will contest from Ukhrul.

The assembly election in the state will be held in two phases on February 27 and March 3 and results will be announced on March 10.

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  • ABOUT THE AUTHOR
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    Utpal is a Senior Assistant Editor based in Guwahati. He covers seven states of North-East India and heads the editorial team for the region. He was previously based in Kathmandu, Dehradun and Delhi with Hindustan Times.

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