This Article is From Oct 19, 2016

Irom Sharmila Launches New Party, Will Take On Chief Minister Ibobi Singh

Activist Irom Sharmila launched a new political party PRAJA in Manipur today (File photo)

Imphal: Activist Irom Sharmila today launched a new political party PRAJA or the Peoples Resurgence and Justice Alliance and said she will contest the Manipur assembly elections to be held early next year.

Her party, the 44-year-old said, would be based on the principles of justice, understanding, love and peace. Ms Sharmila will contest two assembly seats, Thoubal and Khurai, and said she hopes to field at least 20 candidates for Manipur's 60 seats.

Thoubal is the assembly constituency of Okram Ibobi Singh of the Congress, who has been the state's chief minister since 2002. As Irom Sharmila had ended a 16-year fast in protest against alleged army atrocities in Manipur two months ago, she had vowed to continue her crusade politically, also stating that she would take on Mr Singh.  

She has since visited capital Delhi and sought advice on how to defeat major political parties from Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, whose Aam Aadmi Party swept the Delhi elections last year, decimating both the BJP and the Congress.

She had also said she would like to meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi for "good advice."

Ms Sharmila had launched her hunger strike in 2000 after 10 people were killed in firing by security forces. She fasted for the next 16 years demanding the removal of the Armed Forces Special Powers Act or AFSPA that gives the army sweeping emergency powers to search, enter property and shoot at sight.
Her new party's pledge said PRAJA will "work for the repeal of AFPSA and take a stand against all acts of violence and militarisation."

"That by word and action, we will use only non-violence as a means to achieve our political ends," reads the pledge, which also says that PRAJA will work to promote gender justice, economic resilience and self-reliance of the people.

"This is my life. I want equality... I am called the Iron Lady of Manipur and I want to live up to it," Irom Sharmila had said when she ended her fast in August. Apart from politics, she had also said she would like to get married.