Politics

Manipur BJP Legislative Assembly Leader Joykishan Defects to Congress

Joykishan, who was a probable chief ministerial candidate in Manipur, said that he had decided to quit the party because the BJP had failed to address the problems of the people of the state.

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Kh Joykishan. Credit: Twitter

New Delhi: In a huge setback to the Bharatiya Janata Party – which has been hoping to make inroads into Manipur after its rousing success in Assam – the party’s state legislative assembly leader Khumukcham Joykishan joined the ruling Congress today.

Joykishan sent a one-line resignation letter to the party president Ksh Bhabananda Singh around noon informing him that he is stepping down from “the primary/active membership of the party.”

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Khumukcham Joykishan’s resignation letter to BJP president Ksh Bhabananda Singh.

Speaking to local television channels, Joykishan said that he had decided to quit the BJP since he was not happy with it “for having changed its first priority, which is the people of the state.”

Touted in the party circles as one of BJP’s prominent young faces, and a probable chief ministerial candidate for the coming assembly polls, Joykishan, who broke down in front of the local television cameras, said, “BJP has not done anything to address the problems faced by the people presently in the state. It has not done anything to address the issue of economic blockade.”

Speaking to The Wire from Imphal, Joykishan said, “NSCN(I-M), which is in peace talks with the Centre, killed five police men in Tengnoupal and snatched arms from Indian Reserve Battalion in Tamenglong. I ask, why is the Centre keeping mum?”

“Let my exit from the party make my former party colleagues unite and try to bring peace in our state. I wish and do hope the BJP will hear the voice of people now.”

 Joykishan’s walkout from the party is significant considering he was one of the three members of the BJP’s election management committee that was established to formulate the party’s strategy for the upcoming polls in the state. He also helped the party open its account in the state assembly in November 2015 along with Th Biswajit.

Joykishan joined the BJP in May 2015 after Bishwajit, another fellow MLA from All India Trinamool Congress, O Lukhoi and him were disqualified by the speaker under the tenth schedule. All three were elected for the first time to the assembly during the 2012 polls. Joykishan and Biswajit won their respective seats in the mid-term polls as BJP candidates.

Welcoming them at an event in Imphal, Th Chaoba, the then BJP president and the present convener of the state election management committee, reportedly said, “They have joined BJP with a conviction to uproot Congress party from the soil of Manipur as BJP is the only party which can take on the might of the Congress party.”

A senior editor in Imphal who wished to remain anonymous, told The Wire, “BJP had made significant inroads into the Meitei-dominated valley districts of the state in the last few months. There were thousands of party volunteers at a meeting addressed by BJP president Amit Shah some time ago. However, things seem to have tilted towards the Congress lately in the valley areas because the BJP government at the Centre is increasingly being seen as siding with the Nagas, particularly on the issue of the ongoing economic blockade which is causing a lot of inconveniences to the people.”

Called by the United Naga Council (UNC) on November 1, the economic blockade is being carried out to protest the Okram Ibobi Singh government’s decision to elevate Jiribam and Sadar Hills as full-fledged districts.

The UNC along with other Naga civil society groups feels that the move has been done to bifurcate the ancestral land of the Nagas in Manipur. The state government has denied the assertions saying it was done for administrative convenience.

On December 21, UNC leaders met home minister Rajnath Singh to intervene and demanded president’s rule in the state. The UNC president and publicity secretary have been behind bars since November 29.