GUWAHATI: An insurgent group in Manipur has reportedly written to BJP president Amit Shah seeking a party ticket for its favoured candidate for the Outer Manipur parliamentary seat. The Zomi Re-unification Organisation (ZRO) is reported to have sought a ticket for H S Benjamin Mate, the BJP’s state unit vice-president. The ZRO wrote that it would be grateful if Shah could award the ticket to Mate. The group claimed that he was the most promising among the politicians seeking a ticket.
The involvement of armed rebels in elections in the north-east has been an open secret. But this is perhaps the first time that they have come out openly in support of a candidate. In fact, another militant group, Kuki National Organisation, was also reported to have written separately to Shah seeking a ticket for the same candidate and reportedly reminded the BJP national president of all that it had done for the saffron outfit in the past.
The outfit said that in favour of mate’s candidature, sitting MP Thangso Baite had decided against filing nomination while national vice-president of Scheduled Tribes Morcha Haokholet Kipgen had withdrawn his application for a BJP ticket. It reportedly said Thanglenpao Gaite, chairman of the United Peoples Front and president of ZRO, had also declared his support for Mate.
The KNO, however, denied the media reports that it had written to Shah seeking a ticket for Mate. In a statement issued by the deputy secretary of KNO’s publicity wing, Stephen Kuki, the outfit expressed regret that it was “maligned” on an issue concerning electoral politics.