Nationalist People’s Party (NPP) candidate Thangminlen Kipgen, who is contesting from the Outer Manipur parliamentary constituency, has been allegedly asked to withdraw his candidature by some group in favour of rival political party.
The incident comes in the wake of an allegation that PS Haokip, president of the Kuki National Organisation (KNO), wrote to BJP president Amit Shah informing that the group support BJP candidate Benjamin Mate, who is also contesting from the outer parliamentary seat. The KNO had in a statement denied the allegation.
KNO is a conglomerate of 17 Kuki militant groups under the Suspension of Operation (SoO) agreement with the state and central government.
Against this backdrop, Thangminlen Kipgen revealed that he was approached by some prominent leader of his tribe on Thursday during a meeting, asking him to withdraw his candidature in the interest of the Kuki community. Kipgen who is also the president of the NPP belongs to the Kuki community.
He revealed that the meeting held in Imphal was attended by many tribe leaders including BJP candidate Benjamin Mate and KNO president PS Haokip.
“I have made myself clear that I will not withdraw my candidature. The party chose me as their candidate and it is not up to me to decide. Moreover, this is not the time for withdrawal,” said Thangminlen Kipgen.
When asked if he would lodge a complaint against the act, Kipgen mitigated that no further pressure would come to him.
Nevertheless, he said it was very unfortunate that some people often forget that India is a democratic country.
NPP led by its president and Meghalaya Chief Minister, Conrad Sangma has started campaigning in the state for Thangmilen Kipgen, who is contesting from the outer seat.
On Friday, Conrad Sangma along with party leaders in the state addressed election rallies in Churachandpur and Chandel district urging people to vote for the party to unite the Northeastern states.