2 Manipur legislators join BJP, praise PM Modi’s initiatives in the North-east

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IMPHAL: Two Manipur legislators elected on a Congress ticket in the 2017 assembly elections, RK Imo Singh and Yamthong Haokip, joined the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Monday, raising the party’s strength in the 60-member assembly to 25. Manipur is due for elections early next year.

RK Imo Singh, who represents the Sagolband constituency in Imphal West district, was expelled from the Congress in August this year for anti-party activities. His father Rajkumar Jaichandra Singh was Manipur’s chief minister and the first Union minister from the state. He’s the son-in-law of chief minister N Biren Singh.

Yamthong Haokip was elected from the Saikul assembly segment in Kangpokpi district, and was still with Congress before he turned up at the BJP office in the national capital and switched sides.

RK Imo Singh credited Prime Minister Narendra Modi for doing a lot of work for the country’s prosperity, peace and stability. In 2017 when the BJP came to power in Manipur, the state was known for law and order problems, regular blockades and the divide between its hilly and valley regions but this is no longer so, he said at an event to announce the induction of the two Manipur politicians.

Union minister Sarbananda Sonowal highlighted PM Modi’s initiatives in the Northeast besides addressing the issues.

Sharing group photographs of the two former Congress MLAs with the BJP national leaders in a tweet, chief minister N Biren Singh wrote, “Leaders from various parties continue to join the@BJP4India. Shri Yamthong Haokip Ji, MLA of Saikul AC joined BJP today and took blessings from National Party President Sh @JPNadda Ji & Natl. Gen Sec (Org) Sh @blsantosh Ji.”

BJP Manipur also tweeted its welcome note: “We wholeheartedly welcome and congratulate Shri Rajkumar Imo Singh and Shri Yamthong Haokip for Joining the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).”

With Yamthong Haokip’s exit, the Congress is down to 15 legislators in the assembly.

The Congress won 28 seats in the 2017 elections to emerge as the single largest party but could not come to power since the BJP, which won only 21 seats, was able to cross the majority mark of 31 seats with the support of four lawmakers each from the National People’s Party (NPP) and Naga Peoples Front and one legislator each from the Trinamool Congress, Lok Janshakti Party and an independent MLA.

The BJP’s strength in the assembly has gone up since then, mostly at the expense of the Congress.

In August last year, five Congress MLAs Henry Okram, nephew of former chief minister and senior Congress leader Ibobi Singh, Paonam Brojen, Oinam Lukhoi Singh, Ngamthang Haokip, Ginsuanhau Zou quit the party and joined the BJP. Former Congress MLA Govindas Konthoujam who was the former Congress unit chief, also joined the ruling BJP on August 1 this year.

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