Turncoats pitted against each other in Mnp by-polls

Correspondent IMPHAL, Oct 18 | Publish Date: 10/18/2020 12:09:46 PM IST

Two of the four candidates named by the opposition Congress in Manipur for the November 7 by-polls were former vice-presidents of BJP Manipur Pradesh.

Days after the ruling BJP announced names of the persons who will be contest on party tickets, the opposition Congress did the same on Saturday night.
Like the BJP, the Congress will also field its candidates in four out of five Assembly segments where the by-polls will be held on November 7. Analysis of the candidates of the two rival parties in the state showed that the by-polls will be a fight between Congress turned BJP and BJP turned Congress.
All the four BJP candidates were former Congressmen who resigned from the state Assembly before switching to BJP which then necessitated the by-polls. On the other hand, two of the four candidates named by the Congress were former leaders of the state BJP.
Among them was ex-MLA Salam Joy Singh. He was the vice-president of the state unit of the saffron party. He left the party recently after his traditional rival MLA O Lukhoi joined the party after tendering resignation as MLA.
Joy had lost the 2017 general elections to the state Assembly against Lukhoi who contested on congress ticket. In the previous term, Joy contested the election as independent candidate and won.
They will contest the by-election from the Wangoi Assembly segment which Lukhoi vacated. He was inducted as a cabinet minister in the BJP-led coalition and became agriculture minister.
Another candidate named by Congress for the by-poll was Moirangthem Hemanta Singh, also the vice-president of the state unit of the BJP. He quitted the party in December 2018 and joined the Congress. 
He will contest the by-poll against BJP candidate P Brojen who won the seat in 2017 general election on Congress ticket. The by-poll in this constituency is to be held after he vacated the seat before switching to the saffron fold.
Both the BJP and Congress are leaving one Assembly segment each as BJP did not name its candidate for the Lilong Assembly segment in Thoubal district and the Congress will not fielded its candidate in Singhat Assembly segment in Churachandpur district.
For the BJP, it will extend support to Md Abdul Nasir who resigned as Congress MLA from the state Assembly but did not join BJP unlike other five resigned Congress MLAs. 
Congress has decided not to field any candidate in the Singhat Assembly segment but  would extend support to a like-minded, secular candidate, said the MPCC president M Okendro. Even as the ruling BJP is campaigning to secure all four seats where the party is contesting, the opposition Congress is confident of winning in at least three constituencies.
“Congress party would be victorious in three out of five Assembly segments,” said a confident MPCC president.
All the Assembly segments which are going to by-polls were won by Congress party in the last Assembly election and there are a large number of Congress voters in these Assembly segments, Okendro claimed.

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