Guwahati: Protests erupted across Manipur, including the capital, Imphal, following the announcement of Bharatiya Janata Party candidates for the upcoming assembly polls.
The party released its list of candidates Sunday for all 60 assembly seats. The much-awaited list was decided following several rounds of deliberations, given that there were multiple aspirants for all the tickets. Of the 16 Congress leaders who had joined the BJP, 10 made it to the list.
Soon after the list was announced, several BJP leaders and supporters took to the streets, shouting slogans against the party’s decision. Videos of the protests also show people burning the party’s flags and tearing up its banners.
In addition to this, ThePrint also learnt that the candidate list has triggered a string of resignations by BJP functionaries.
Playing down the unrest in the party, BJP MLA Thongam Biswajit Singh, the state’s public works minister, said, “Our party leaders have already convinced many of them, we are trying to convince them. This happens in all parties.”
Resignations by BJP leaders
ThePrint accessed two letters by top party functionaries who had resigned over their displeasure at the party’s choice of candidates.
Thokchom Jadumani, the intending BJP candidate for Khangabok, in Thoubal district, and Thangjam Arunkumar, a former Congress leader who defected to the BJP in December, have both resigned. Sources told ThePrint that Arunkumar has decided to join the Janata Dal (United).
Brinda Thounaojam, the police officer who had joined the BJP, was also denied a ticket and has now joined the JD(U), sources said.
“Based on the displeasure over the recent award of BJP ticket overlooking my sacrifice for BJP for almost two decades and failure to acknowledge the pulses of the people, I do hereby resigned from the Primary Membership of BJP with immediate effect [sic],” Jadumani’s letter read.
Mass resignations were also seen in the party’s block unit in Khangabok. A letter signed by the BJP Khangabok mandal president Laishram Tomba Khuman stated that he had received mass resignation letters, given “the displeasure over the recent award of the BJP ticket to a party newbie”.
Meanwhile, effigies of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Manipur Chief Minister N. Biren Singh were burnt in the state. Party offices were also ransacked in some parts of Manipur.
‘One or two may resign, rest will remain’
Singh, however, said that the party had expected the response. “If there are five intending candidates, out of that one or two may resign, but the rest will remain,” he said.
The last few days had seen the party’s state unit hold a number of meetings over the candidate list.
Party sources said that state BJP leaders had held at least three-four rounds of discussions to decide on a tentative list of aspirants, following which the core committee and Manipur BJP’s election committee were consulted to arrive at the final list of names.
(Edited by Saikat Niyogi)