Home india-news BJP announces three more candidates, replaces MoS on Manipur Lok Sabha seat | Latest News India

BJP announces three more candidates, replaces MoS on Manipur Lok Sabha seat | Latest News India

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BJP announces three more candidates, replaces MoS on Manipur Lok Sabha seat | Latest News India

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The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Tuesday named candidates from two seats in Rajasthan and one in Manipur, dropping all three sitting lawmakers, including Union minister of state for external affairs Rajkumar Ranjan Singh from the crucial seat of inner Manipur.

Security personnel in Manipur’s Imphal. (Reuters)
Security personnel in Manipur’s Imphal. (Reuters)

Polling in both the states is scheduled to be held in two phases – the first phase will be held on April 19 and the second on April 26. The counting of votes will be held on June 4.

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As part of its sixth list released on Tuesday, the BJP dropped Singh, who won the seat in 2019, and fielded state education minister Thounaojam Basanta Kumar Singh instead.

Of the two Lok Sabha seats in the northeastern state that has been gripped by violence since May 3 last year, the BJP is contesting only one. It has decided not to field any candidate from the Outer Manipur constituency and extend its support to ally and Naga People’s Front nominee Kachui Timothy Zimik, a retired Indian Revenue Service officer.

“I thank all the members of the central election committee of BJP and state leaders for giving me this opportunity to contest the parliamentary polls,” Basanta Kumar Singh, 59, a former Indian Police Service officer who currently represents Nambol seat in Bishnupur district in the Manipur assembly, told reporters at the BJP state headquarters in Imphal.

In Rajasthan, the BJP fielded Kanhaiya Lal Meena from Dausa while Indu Devi Jatav was nominated from Karauli-Dholpur, a seat reserved for Scheduled Castes. Sitting lawmakers Jaskaur Meena from Dausa and Manoj Rajoria from Karauli-Dholpur were both dropped.

The inner Manipur seat, which the BJP first won in 1999, comprises the capital Imphal and its outskirts and is dominated by the Meiteis, one of the communities locked in the ethnic strife that has claimed at least 219 lives in the state.

The son of former Union minister Thounaojam Chaoba Singh, Basanta Kumar Singh is pitted against Congress’s Angomcha Bimol Akoijam, a Jawaharlal Nehru University professor, Maheshwar Thounoujam from Republican Party of India (Athawale) and actor Rajkumar Somorendro, who has been fielded by the Manipur Peoples Party.

Seventy-one-year-old Ranjan Singh, a former professor and registrar at Manipur University, won the seat in 2019. He was appointed as Union minister of state for external affairs and education in 2021. Last year, his house in Imphal was attacked by a mob in May and later burnt down in June by a mob as part of clashes between armed mobs of Meiteis and Kukis.

While there was no immediate response from Ranjan Singh, a senior state BJP leader, who did not wish to be named, said: “The main reason why Ranjan Singh was dropped was his lack of acceptance among Meitei voters, who feel he did not raise his voice about Manipur in Parliament. Though he’s a very capable leader, he couldn’t say things which were against the party’s directives. But voters in Imphal don’t realise this. His age was also a factor that went against him.”

Significantly, earlier this month, Ranjan Singh had written a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, urging him to set up a system that can bring together credible civil society groups from both Meitei and Kuki-Zo communities for talks to ensure peace.

Without naming anyone, Singh alleged that peace and normalcy isn’t being allowed to return in Manipur “by some few political leaders, a handful of armed groups and wrongly motivated scoundrels”. He urged Modi to ensure that civil society groups from both sides aren’t “coerced or influenced by armed militias and insurgents”.

In Rajasthan, the BJP has fielded Kanhaiya Lal Meena from Dausa constituency while Indu Devi Jatav was nominated from Karauli-Dholpur, a seat reserved for Scheduled Caste. Sitting lawmakers Jaskaur Meena from Dausa and Manoj Rajoria from Karauli-Dholpur were dropped.

“In Dausa, both Meena and state agriculture minister Kirodi Lal Meena were seeking the ticket for their kin. The party, however, refused to field either of them. Kirodi Lal Meena’s supporters are unhappy with the decision,” a person aware of the developments said.

There are 25 Lok Sabha seats in Rajasthan. The BJP has so far announced the names of 24 candidates and is yet to decide on the candidate for Bhilwara seat.


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