On Monday, party MLA and retired IAS officer P. Saratchandra, former Minister N. Biren, and the former chief of a state government PSU N. Joykumar joined the Congress, continuing the exodus from the governing BJP in election-bound Manipur.
At a gathering, Bhakta Charan Das, the Congress' election in-charge for Manipur, and former Chief Minister Okram Ibobi Singh greeted all three politicians. In the meantime, five other BJP officials, including Ningthoujam Mangi and S. Sovachandra, have joined the National People's Party (NPP), the BJP's junior ally. It was previously joined by BJP leaders Lourembam Sanjoy Singh and Thangjam Arunkumar.
Thangjam Arunkumar, a BJP politician, and Thounaojam Brinda, a respected lady police officer turned firebrand leader, joined the Janata Dal-United on Sunday night. Most BJP deserters are expected to be nominated by the Congress, the NPP, and the JD-U, who left the saffron party after not being selected as party nominees for the upcoming Assembly elections on February 27 and March 3.
After so many prominent leaders joined the JD-U, including current Congress member K. Joykishan and former Minister Abdul Nasir, the party became more influential in Manipur politics. As protests arose on Sunday after the ruling BJP announced all 60 candidates, ticket aspirants and their supporters burned effigies of Central and state party leaders, set ablaze party flags, banners, and posters, and allegedly forced the closure of a few party offices and in different parts of Manipur.
BJP leaders in Imphal, on the other hand, denied any large-scale demonstrations, stating that some "little discontent was voiced by few party members and they are all controllable," but they were concerned after many party leaders, including a sitting MLA, left the party.