Congress turncoats in BJP’s Manipur candidate list prompts violent protests

Minutes after the announcement of BJP candidate lists for the 60 assembly seats, irate saffron party supporters burnt effigies of chief minister N. Biren Singh and state BJP president Sarda Devi, along with the flag, banners, and pamphlets.

The supporters alleged that tickets were offered to aspirants who recently defected from other parties and joined BJP, shunning the long-term leaders and loyalists of the party.

Sloganeering and ransacking of local offices were reported at Sagolband, Kakching, Moirang, and Keishamthong assembly constituencies. Videos of protest have been doing the rounds on social media.

The BJP list included former Congress MLA RK Imo Singh, the son-in-law of chief minister N Biren Singh who recently joined the BJP, excluding Khwairakpam Loken Singh. The latter’s supporters alleging ‘dynasty politics’ torched party posters and flags and even abruptly stopped the traffic along the Tiddim road.

Chief Minister N Biren Singh will be contesting from his home constituency, Heingang. Th. Biswajit Singh, whose name has been in the rumor mill to be the next face of the chief minister for a while now, will contest from the Thongju assembly constituency. Former Manipur Congress chief Govindas Konthoujam who joined the party in August 2021, will contest from the Bishnupur constituency.

“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,” CM N Biren Singh posted on Twitter and Facebook.

Three sitting MLAs of BJP – P Sharatchandra of Moirang, M Rameshwar of Kakching, and Yumkham Erabot of Wangkhei – did not make it to the list. Former Congress leaders M Prithviraj Singh, Y Surchandra, and Okram Henry replaced P Sarat, M Rameshwor, and Y Irabot.

The saffron party has fielded three women candidates – Soraisam Kebi Devi from Naoriyapakhanglakpa, SS Olish from Chandel (ST), and Nemcha Kipgen from Kangpokpi.

Manipur goes into the polls in two phases on February 27 and March 3, 2022, for the 60 seats Manipur Legislative Assembly. The counting of votes will take place on March 10.