Updated: February 4, 2022 5:00:34 pm
A minor political outfit in Manipur, the Janata Dal (United) has suddenly come to spotlight in the run-up to the state Assembly elections, with more than 10 BJP members switching to its camp after being denied poll tickets by the ruling party. These disgruntled BJP ticket aspirants are on the list of 36 poll candidates that the JD(U) released Wednesday.
Both the BJP and the JD(U) are NDA allies in Bihar as well as at the Centre, but they are separately contesting the elections to the 60-member Manipur Assembly, which will be held in two phases, on February 27 and March 3.
With the BJP announcing all its 60 candidates, its rejects are now crossing over to other parties in their bids to contest the polls.
Several leaders and ticket aspirants from other parties, especially the principal Opposition Congress, have also joined the JD(U) in recent days after being denied tickets by their parties.
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Some of the prominent faces on the JD(U)’s candidates list include Jiribam MLA (Independent) Ashab Uddin, Thangmeiband MLA Kh Joykishan (Congress), Independent MLA from Lilong Md Abdul Nasir, former BJP MLA Samuel Jendai, ex-DGP LM Khaute (BJP), Congress vice president Dwijamani, and ex-Congress MLAs, Kh Devendro Singh and Ksh Biren.
The lone woman candidate on this list is Th Brinda. A former police officer, Brinda was also denied ticket by the BJP. She is the first police officer from the Manipur narcotics division to have received a gallantry award.
Although the JD(U) has existed in Manipur since 2003, it has failed to win a single seat in any polls so far.
The Manipur JD (U)’s president Hangkhanpao Taithul said the party has gained popularity thanks to the leadership of its chief and Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar.
“We all have witnessed how Nitish Kumar transformed Bihar. This is the big factor why people are preferring JD(U) over other parties”, said Taihul, adding the party has the same vision for Manipur.
There is however a strong perception in Manipur’s political circles that being an NDA ally the JD(U) would be the “B-team of the BJP”, which might be a key reason, some observers say, why a number of disgruntled BJP ticket aspirants have defected to the JD(U).
Taihul dismissed such a perception as “baseless”. “We are NDA partners. But, that doesn’t make us the B-team of the BJP…We are contesting own our own,” he said, claiming that his party would win over 10 seats and be part of the next Manipur government.
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