This Article is From Feb 22, 2017

Manipur Elections 2017: When Irom Sharmila Got BJP to Move PM Modi's Rally Out Of Kangla Fort

Manipur Elections 2017: When Irom Sharmila Got BJP to Move PM Modi's Rally Out Of Kangla Fort

The BJP has shifted the venue for PM Narendra Modi's election rally in Manipur.

Guwahati: Whether human right crusader Irom Sharmila Chanu's political party Peoples' Resurgence and Justice Alliance (PRJA) makes a mark in electoral battle will be known when the poll results will be out on March 11. But PRJA has already notched up one small victory over the BJP, and its face for Manipur polls - Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

The BJP - that was keen its star campaigner PM Modi holds his election rally at the historic Kangla Fort complex perhaps as a mark of symbolism in politics - has chucked its plan. Kangla Fort wasn't just home to the kings of Manipur, but is also seen as a sacred place in the Manipuri society.

PRJA - that had launched a campaign against using the fort for PM Modi's political rally - had also complained to the Election Commission. The ruling Congress too soon joined the chorus against the location for the PM's rally.

"We analysed (the situation) and felt that we must have a bigger venue. Thus we shifted. First we thought of having it in Kangla though," Manipur BJP spokesperson RK Sivachandra told NDTV.

He said the venue for the rally - the only one that the PM would address before the first phase of polling on March 4 - would be a few kilometres away at Langjing Achouba ground, near CRPF Camp in Imphal. The PM is expected to address a second public meeting before the second phase of polling on March 8.

PRJA considers the change of venue a moral victory.

"We feel humbled to have done our part in protecting our sacred Kangla from political profanity," said PRJA's convener Erendro Leichombam.

Irom Sharmila, who hadn't eaten a morsel for 16 years to demand scrapping the Armed Forces Special Powers Act that gives security personnel sweeping emergency powers, founded the party last year after she ended her hunger strike.