Imphal, March 4: The BJP has pitted historian Gangmumei Kamei and firebrand anti-dam activist R.K. Ranjan Singh against the Congress candidates in Manipur for the upcoming Lok Sabha polls.
BJP state president Thounaojam Chaoba Singh today formally announced that Kamei would contest from the Outer Manipur parliamentary seat and Ranjan Singh would run from the Inner Manipur parliamentary seat. Their candidature was approved on February 27.
Both seats are currently represented by the Congress, which is yet to announce its candidature.
Kamei is a former history professor of Manipur University. He is also a seasoned politician who was once a cabinet minister while Ranjan Singh will be entering the electoral fray for the first time.
Ranjan Singh, who is now a visiting lecturer of Manipur University’s geography department, is better known for his protests against the Tipaimukh dam.
Soon after the announcement of his candidature, Kamei talked about bringing harmony among different communities in the Outer Manipur constituency, that comprises five hill districts and eight valley Assembly constituencies. Ranjan Singh spoke about sustainable development and environmental issues, like scientific approach to river management.
Oinam Indira, who unsuccessfully contested against chief minister Okram Ibobi Singh in Thoubal during the 2012 Assembly elections, resigned from the BJP in protest against the party’s decision to allot a party ticket to Ranjan Singh.
Confirming Indira’s resignation, Chaoba Singh maintained that her exit would not have any impact on the BJP, which he said was a steadily growing party.
Chaoba Singh said his party would fight the election mainly on the agenda of bringing good governance and rooting out corruption. “If there is good governance, there will be no corruption and development will follow. We will include these in our election manifesto,” he said.
The BJP took a strong stance against Nagaland chief minister Neiphiu Rio. “No one from outside Manipur can bully us. Rio is interfering in Manipur’s politics,” Kamei said when asked about Rio’s support to the Naga integration campaign.
During Manipur’s annual orange festival held in Tamenglong district, Rio had said Meiteis and Nagas were neighbours.
Chaoba Singh said the BJP was firm about not disturbing the boundary of Manipur. He reminded everyone about then Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s declaration at a rally in Kohima in 2003 that the boundary of Manipur could not be changed without mutual consent of Manipur and Nagaland.
Chaoba Singh said the party would kick off its election campaign on March 10 from Imphal. Party leaders like S.S. Ahluwallia and Nirmala Sitharam will address rallies during the first phase of the campaign in the Inner and Outer constituencies, which would continue till March 15.