Protests, resignations in Manipur after BJP announces candidates’ list


Aspiring ticket aspirants of the ruling BJP and their supporters burnt effigies of central and state party leaders, torched party flags, banners and posters and allegedly forced the closure of few party offices and shouted slogans in different parts of Manipur as protests erupted on Sunday after the party announced 60 candidates for the forthcoming assembly polls.

The BJP leaders in Imphal denied any large-scale protests saying that some “minor discontent were expressed by some party men and these are all manageable”.

According to some sources, BJP party offices were ransacked in different parts of the state including state capital Imphal, Kakching, Sagolband and several other assembly constituencies and the names of the candidates were in Delhi.

Apprehending the possible protests after the announcement of the names of the candidates, the police authorities have tightened the security and deployed additional force for about a week in the state BJP headquarters in Imphal and few other districts preventing the large-scale attacks and incidents.

The security of the party’s state president A. Sharda Devi, ministers and MLAs was heightened.

Police officials remained tight-lipped over the series of incidents and protests took place on Sunday after the announcements of the BJP candidates for the elections to the 60-member Manipur Assembly on February 27 and March 3.

Some party functionaries and ticket aspirants expecting the nominations of the party in the ensuing elections including Lourembam Sanjoy Singh and Thangjam Arunkumar have resigned from the party on Saturday and Sunday though their exact number remained unclear.

At least 10 of the 16 former Congress leaders who joined the BJP in recent years were given tickets as the ruling party announced to contest in all 60 seats without any alliance with any party.

Chief Minister N. Biren Singh would contest from his traditional seat in Heingang while another important minister Biswajit Singh, would fight from Thongju seat.

Former national footballer Somatai Saiza would compete from Ukhrul.

Former Manipur Congress chief who joined the BJP few months back Govindas Konthoujam, has also got a saffron party ticket to contest the election.

The BJP has fielded three women — Nemcha Kipgen, S.S. Olish and Soraisam Kebi Devi and one Muslim candidate.

BJP sources said that most loyalists of the Chief Minister have been nominated by the party.

The BJP has also put up three former IAS officers — Dinganglung Gangmei, Yengkhom Surchandra Singh and Raghumani Singh as party candidates.

Meanwhile, National Vice-President of National People’s Party (NPP) and Manipur Deputy Chief Minister Y. Joykumar Singh said that his party would try to nominate those leaders rejected by the BJP for the coming election.

With four MLAs, the NPP is an ally of the BJP-led government, however, the party already announced to fight the polls on its own.

The NPP headed by Meghalaya Chief Minister Conrad K. Sangma, however, announced to contest the elections on its own this time and would field candidates in at least 40 seats.

The NPP, a national political party, which has political bases in different northeastern states, had contested nine seats in 2017 and won four.

Another ally of the BJP-led government, the Naga People’s Front (NPF), is still undecided on a pre-poll alliance in Manipur.

The BJP has recently asked its possible candidates to give a written undertaking to prevent them from joining other parties when they are not given tickets.

The BJP, which had bagged 21 seats in 2017, came to power for the first time, stitching together a coalition government with the support of four NPP MLAs, four NPF members, the lone Trinamool Congress MLA and an Independent member.

The Congress, despite emerging as the single-largest party with 28 seats was ousted from power after 15 years in the last assembly polls (2017).

The Congress, which released its first list of 40 candidates for Manipur polls, last week announced a pre-poll alliance with four Left parties and Janata Dal-Secular.



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