The impending Legislative Assembly elections in Manipur have set the temperature in the state soaring. Political parties are aggressively campaigning from the ground. The elections for the state will be held in two phases on March 4 and March 8, 2017.
Here’s a list of six key candidates that are likely to make a mark in the upcoming polls:
Ibobi Singh (INC)
Ibobi Singh took oath as the Chief Minister of Manipur on March 7, 2002. He has successfully completed two full terms. In the last assembly elections in 2012, he led his party to triumph with an absolute majority of 42 out of 60 seats. He will contest from his home constituency in Thoubal.
Thounaojam Chaoba Singh (BJP)
Chaoba Singh is a former union minister and Bharatiya Janata Party state president in Manipur. From 1990- 97, he was one of the core members of the All India Congress Committee. He became the deputy chief minister of Manipur in 1994. And in 1997, he became the state president of the Congress party. He also served as the union minister of state, culture, youth affairs and sports. He will be contesting from the Nambol constituency.
Irom Sharmila (PRJA)
A civil rights crusader, political activist, and poet, Irom Sharmila needs no introduction. She went on the world’s longest hunger strike against corruption from 2 November 2000 to 9 August 2016. She formed her new party Peoples’ Resurgence and Justice Alliance (PRJA) to keep up her fight against the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) and will be contesting from Thoubal constituency, head to head against Manipur CM Ibobi Singh.
N Biren Singh (BJP)
Biren Singh is a national level footballer-turned-journalist who later became a politician. In 2002, he was first elected as a Legislative Assembly candidate for the Democratic Revolutionary People’s Party from the Heingang, Manipur. In May 2003, he joined the Indian National Congress (INC) and was appointed as the minister of state for vigilance. He was also elected as the minister of Irrigation & Flood Control and Youth Affairs & Sports in the Manipur Government.
In 2016, Biren resigned from the Manipur Legislative Assembly and the Manipur Pradesh Congress Committee, in an act of defiance against Chief Minister of Manipur Ibobi Singh.
Biren Singh formally joined BJP in 2016 and became the spokesperson and co-convener of the Election Management Committee of BJP Manipur Pradesh.
Y Irabot Singh (BJP)
Yumkham Irabot Singh is a Congress veteran who left the party in 2016 and joined the BJP. Miffed with the style of functioning of the Chief Minister, Okram Ibobi Singh, he sent a letter to the party high command informing about his decision to quit the party.
Gaikhangam Gangmei (INC)
With an experience of more than 30 years, Gaikhangam Gangmei is the current Deputy Chief Minister cum Home Minister of Manipur. A veteran politician from the Rongmei tribe, he is the longest reigning President of Manipur Pradesh Congress Committee. He will be contesting from Numgba constituency.