Tension was palpable in the BJP office in Manipur ahead of the announcement of candidates for the state assembly election on February 27. At 12.30 pm on January 30 when the BJP declared that it will contest all 60 seats of the Manipur assembly and is confident of winning a two-third majority, it was amply clear that the captain of the ship will again be N Biren Singh.
Sitting chief minister N Biren Singh, a former footballer, will contest from Heingang constituency.
PWD minister Biswajit Singh will contest from Thongju.
Interestingly, the party has given tickets to candidates from across all sections of society, including sportspersons, IAS officers and doctors.
According to sources in the BJP, winnability and organisational skills are key factors on which candidates have been given the party tickets.
Former footballer Somatai Saiza, who is a batchmate of Bhaichung Bhutia, will be contesting from Ukhrul seat.
The BJP has fielded retired IAS officers Dinganglung Gammei from Nungba, Y Surchandra Singh from Kakching and Raghumani Singh from Uripok.
In an important move, the BJP dropped senior MLA Irabot Singh and instead fielded former Congress CM Okram Ibobi Singh’s nephew Henry from Wanglhei seat.
The BJP has retained 19 of the total 21 MLAs it had announced in the 2017 Manipur assembly polls. The remaining three have been dropped. There are three women candidates this time.
At least 10 members from the Congress who have now joined the BJP have been given tickets. Former Manipur Congress chief Govindas Konthoujam Singh, who recently joined the BJP, is one of them.
Meanwhile, security was enhanced at major places in the state as protests were anticipated in the wake of candidates’ announcement. According to reports, effigies were burnt of BJP leaders and sloganeering also took place.
State BJP vice-president and media in charge Chidananda Singh told News18, “Protests are normal, at one or two places, we heard, but nobody came to the state headquarters. This protest is not big.”
“Is baar, 40 paar (this time, will cross 40), that’s the slogan this time in Manipur,” he added.
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