The BJP is tapping ace boxer Mary Kom for a role in the upcoming elections in Manipur, the third northeastern state it considers ready to become ‘Congress mukt’.
A bronze medalist at the 2012 London Olympics, Kom was nominated to the Rajya Sabha on Narendra Modi government’s recommendation in April this year.
“She met our party president Amit Shah in New Delhi on December 15 where her possible role in Manipur election was discussed,” a source privy to the development told HT.
The discussion ranged from chances of Kom campaigning for the BJP, an election ticket for her brother and her becoming the face of the party in Manipur. She is yet to take a decision.
Kom also had a meeting with Assam minister Himanta Biswa Sarma in October. Sarma is also the convenor of North-East Democratic Alliance, the BJP’s brainchild for expansion in the northeast.
The party believes Kom’s appeal cuts across regions and she would be an asset for them. The 33-year-old icon comes from a tribal community but also has appeal among non tribals, particularly the youth.
The BJP’s campaign in Manipur is being spearheaded by general secretary Ram Madhav, who oversaw their victory in Assam. Their hope in Manipur is largely driven by the demographic profile.
Meiteis — the dominant community in the state — are primarily Hindus, whereas the tribal-dominated hills are primarily Christian. Forty of the 60 seats in the state assembly are in and around the valley, with Meitei population — this will be the BJP’s target even as it hopes to pick a few seats in the tribal pockets.