GUWAHATI: As speculated, activist and world’s longest hunger striker Irom Sharmila will contest from two seats in next year’s Manipur elections.
Confirming this to Express on Monday, Sharmila said she had hit the campaign trail on Sunday in the Khurai constituency as part of her preparations for the polls.
“I’ve already started my preparations. I will contest from Khurai and Thoubal seats,” she said. Incidentally, Thoubal is the constituency of Congress veteran and Chief Minister Okram Ibobi Singh.
Addressing people at Lamlong in Khurai constituency on Sunday, she said her main focus was on removing the controversial Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act (AFSPA) from Manipur, rid the state of corruption and uphold the rights of people.
The activist had launched her party “People's Resurgence and Justice Alliance” (PRJA) in Imphal last month to take her fight against AFSPA forward. She had ended her 16-year long hunger strike in August
and later, announced that she would contest the polls and try and become the state’s chief minister.
“I’m soon organizing a big programme of my party. You just wait and watch,” she told Express. When asked about the kind of support she was getting, she did not respond.
Given the mood of people in Manipur, she is unlikely to get the support of many. Sections of the people are angry with her for “spoiling” the movement by abruptly ending her fast. Sharmila was the face of the movement against AFSPA and as such, people thought her ending the epic fast was the virtual end to the movement in Manipur.
Meanwhile, the Congress, which has been in power for three terms, is faced with a strong anti-incumbency wave. The party has also been hit by defection. Three MLAs of the ruling party have defected to the BJP. The BJP is growing by leaps and bounds in the state and expected to give the Congress a run for their money this election.