Imphal: The BJP’s Manipur unit is helping the party in its election campaign in Assam by canvassing the Manipuri settlers in the neighbouring state.
Several BJP leaders led by the president of the party’s Manipur unit Thounaojam Chaoba Singh are touring the Manipuri-inhabited areas of Assam, to help their party wrest power from the Congress in the forthcoming election.
N Mangi, one such leader from Manipur, told IANS that the Manipuri settlers welcomed the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) team everywhere because they have been neglected by the Congress government for decades.
Jobs and other reservations meant for the Manipuris were usurped by candidates of other communities, he said.
Angry with their deprivation and exploitation, the Manipuris wanted a change in the political climate, said Mangi who was for long with the Communist Party of India (CPI) before joining the BJP.
“We are confident that our party will win the seats in these Manipuri-dominated constituencies.”
Manipuris had settled in many parts in Assam centuries ago.
Legend has it that if a Manipuri princess was married to a prince in Assam, thousands of villagers would be decreed to go and settle near her marital home, so that she did not feel lonely.
AR Khan is a retired bureaucrat who became a member of the party in Manipur. He is also in the BJP team touring Assam.
The Muslim voters in Assam welcomed him and assured him of cooperation, Khan said.
In many constituencies the Muslim voters have considerable influence. They have relatives and emotional integration with the Muslims in Manipur who have long elected about 5-6 MLAs in the 60-member House.
Thounaojam Chaoba Singh said, “Our team will stay till the last minute of electioneering for the first date of polling”.
Assam will see polling on April 4 and 11, to elect 126 members of its assembly.
Meanwhile, Congress sources in Imphal told IANS that no such team has been sent by their party so far to Assam.
But then the party is faction-ridden.
At least 25 Congress MLAs out of 48 party legislators in the assembly are revolting. They demand dropping of the ministers in the Okram Ibobi Singh government and their induction instead.
Congress president Sonia Gandhi had met the two sides. Though one minister announced in a public meeting that there will be no reshuffle the dissidents told IANS that once the Holi festival is over they will make their presence felt.
However, other politicians including the BJP president in Manipur are very sceptical about the effectiveness of the dissidents in the state.
The poll outcome in Assam will have a direct bearing on the elections in Manipur which will be held in February 2017.