BJP Nominates Thounaojam Basanta Kumar Singh as Inner Manipur Lok Sabha Candidate Amidst Rising Ethnic Tensionservation and Restoration


Source: Waari Singbul Network

3/26/20243 min read

Imphal: In a last-minute development that underscores the ruling party's apprehensions amid on-going ethnic unrest in Manipur, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has finally announced its candidate for the Inner Manipur Lok Sabha seat, just a day before the nomination deadline for the 18th Lok Sabha Elections.

Thounaojam Basanta Kumar Singh BJP Candidate

Putting an end to rampant speculations, including rumours of the State Chief Minister N Biren Singh's candidacy, Manipur's ruling BJP declared Thounaojam Basanta Kumar Singh, the state's Education and Law Minister, as its nominee for the Inner Manipur Lok Sabha seat.

The election for this constituency is scheduled for April 19, marking the first phase of the Parliamentary elections in Manipur.

Basanta Kumar Singh, aged 59, steps in to replace the incumbent MP and Union Minister Rajkumar Ranjan Singh. He will now contend against a diverse array of opponents, including Angomcha Bimol Akoijam from the Congress, a Professor from Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), Delhi, and two Manipuri film stars - Thounaojam Maheshwar Singh representing the Republican Party of India (Athawale) and Rajkumar Somorendro Singh, popularly known as Kaiku, the candidate of the Manipur regional party, the Manipur People Party.

Angomcha Bimol Akoijam, Congress Candidate

Rajkumar Somorendro Singh, MPP Candidate

Maheshwar Thounoujam, RPI candidate

Hailing from a political lineage, Basanta Kumar Singh is the son of former Union Minister Thounaojam Chaoba Singh, a stalwart within the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in Manipur, who holds esteem as the architect of the party's organizational foundation in the state. His influence within the party remains significant to date. Basanta Kumar still serves as the state’s elected representative from the Nambol constituency in Bishnupur district during the 2022 elections, subsequently assuming the role of cabinet minister responsible for Education and Law in Manipur.

Sources within the BJP suggest that the central leadership had initially considered Chief Minister N. Biren Singh as a potential candidate for the Inner Manipur Lok Sabha seat. However, Singh purportedly declined the offer, with insiders citing his indispensable role in maintaining stability amidst the ongoing ethnic tensions in Manipur.

"Biren Singh commands immense popularity among the Meitei and other communities. His leadership and continuity as Chief Minister are crucial, particularly given the ethnic strife in Manipur," remarked a senior BJP official who preferred to remain anonymous.

Manipur comprises two Lok Sabha seats - Inner Manipur and Outer Manipur, the latter being reserved for Hills constituencies. While polling for the Inner Manipur parliamentary constituency is slated for April 19, voting in Outer Manipur will be conducted in two phases, on April 19 and April 26, respectively.

The BJP's eleventh-hour nomination of Basanta Kumar Singh reflects the party's acknowledgment of the volatile political climate in Manipur, as it gears up for a fiercely contested election amidst simmering ethnic tensions.

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