Sources in the Congress claimed another 12 BJP leaders have been in touch with them. (File)
Leaders of the BJP not fielded in the coming assembly elections in Manipur are on their way out, their destination is the Congress, or any other party that would give them a ticket. A day after the announcement of the party's candidate list, sitting BJP MLA from Moirang Assembly Constituency, P Sarat Chandra Singh, joined the Congress with his supporters. Ningthoujam Biren, a former minister of the Sekmai assembly constituency, and Ningthoujam Joykumar Singh, also joined the Congress.
Sources in the Congress claimed another 12 BJP leaders have been in touch with them.
Protests raged across Manipur yesterday as the BJP announced candidates for the state's 60 assembly seats. Supporters set ablaze party flags, effigies of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chief Minister N Biren Singh. Security had to be stepped up as party offices were ransacked in various parts of the state.
The BJP has given the tickets to leaders who joined after 2017. Ten out of 16 in this list are from the Congress, while 4 are from other parties.
Manipur Congress vice-president and spokesperson KH Devabrata told NDTV that the traffic from the BJP is welcome.
"We have already declared a list of 40 candidates and another will be out in two or three days. But now, several BJP leaders who were denied ticket are contacting us and promising allegiance to the Congress. We are ready to welcome them," he said.
A chunk of the BJP MLAs is headed for Meghalaya Chief Minister Conrad Sangma's National People's Party or NPP and the switch is likely within a day or two, sources indicated.
Party sources said the list includes two sitting MLAs -- veteran leader Y Erabot Singh of Wangkhei assembly constituency, and Rameshwar, the MLA of Kakching constituency, both of whom have been denied ticket.
"We will put up many candidates, far more than the last time and we have some very good ticket seekers who want to switch from other parties. In the northeast, candidates are more important than the party, so what we are looking at are good candidates," Meghalaya Chief Minister Conrad Sangma has told NDTV.
Sources in the NPP added that former minister L Mangi, former BJP MLAs Sobhachandra Singh, N Loken and Anwar Hussain will join them and will be added to the list of candidates.
Earlier today, the BJP today held a meeting of all its 60 candidates. Chief Minister N Biren Singh, Assam cabinet minister and BJP's election in-charge for Manipur Ashok Singhal, state BJP president A Sarda Devi and Minister Biswajit Sigh -- the other contender for the top post – addressed the gathering.
According to BJP sources, the agenda was unity among the candidates and the leaders and supporters of the party.