Crisis in Manipur Congress? Poster of Congress chief with BJP leaders triggers rumours
Imphal, July 24: The Congress party is fast losing its leaders to the opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in the northeastern state of Manipur since last year.
In fact, the formation of government in the state by the saffron party after the Manipur assembly elections earlier this year is a testimony to the fact that most of the current BJP leaders in the cabinet of Chief Minister Biren Singh are former Congress leaders.
The CM himself has left the Congress in 2016 to join the BJP. Amid losing so many "valuable" leaders to the saffron party, if rumours are to be believed the Congress is likely to witness more defection.
The reports of party leaders leaving for the BJP got further momentum after a poster of Manipur Pradesh Congress Committee (MPCC) president TN Haokip appeared along with BJP leaders in Imphal on Sunday.
Both the parties denied rumours that Haokip is joining the BJP. However, such a "strange" incident left many in Manipur baffled. While the Congress called the poster incident as a "conspiracy", the BJP on its part termed it as a "faux pas".
The residents of the capital city were surprised when they saw picture of Haokip along with the picture of CM Singh, ministers, BJP president K Bhabananda and legislators along the median of Kangla Pat road.
In fact, Haokip's photo was between CM Singh and Bhabananda and the posters carried the picture of the leaders with the lotus symbol and Manipur Pradesh BJP written on them.
However, after some time, Haokip's poster was replaced with that of Speaker Yumnam Khemchand. The incident went viral on social media which created a lot of anger and confusion among Congress cadres.
"This is a conspiracy of the BJP. I will take legal recourse against putting up of my photo with the BJP symbol and lodge a complaint with the cybercrime unit of the police for defaming me and damaging the image of the Congress," Haokip told reporters.
Haokip said that he will continue to be a loyal Congressman till his last breath.
The BJP blamed Sharma Enterprises, an Imphal-based firm, which was given the contract by the saffron party to put up posters and flags.
"The firm is solely responsible for the mistake of putting up Haokip's photo. We did not provide his photograph to the firm. The BJP does not bear any responsibility for the mistake," K Saratkumar Singh, the BJP's general secretary (administration) said.
Reports suggest that the BJP is trying its best to woo more Congress leaders of Manipur to its fold. Recently, eight Congress legislators have joined the BJP, which heads a coalition government in Manipur.
The strength of the Congress has been reduced to 20 in the 60-member House.
"Putting up my picture with the lotus symbol and that too along with other BJP leaders is very unfortunate and this is a direct insult not only to me but also to the party," Haokip said.