Two former ministers of the Okram Ibobi Singh government joined the Bharatiya Janata Party on Monday, days after another senior Congress leader and former minister jumped ship ahead of the assembly polls in the state.
Former irrigation and flood control minister Nongthombam Biren, who was elected three times in a trot from the Heingang constituency, and former rural development minister Francis Ngajokpa, who was elected twice on a Congress ticket from Tadubi constituency and held various ministerial portfolios, were the two leaders who joined the opposition party.
“I resigned (from the ruling party) because of its dictatorship style of misgovernance,” said former minister N Biren, who quit the Congress and resigned from the post of MLA on October 6. “At the same time, I join the BJP for the equal development of every section of Manipuri society to bridge the existing gap.”
Former minister Francis Ngajokpa, who tendered his resignation on October 13, following “pressure from workers” said, “I join the BJP to work for the welfare of the constituency and the state”.
Party workers had recently convened a meeting at Maram town — about 80km north of Imphal — during which it was resolved that they would continue to support the Ngajokpa only if he resigned from the party.
A formal reception function for the two political heavyweights was organised at the BJP state office here on Monday. The party’s national secretary Ram Madhav, NE in-charge Ajay Jawal and state president Kh Bhabananda besides BJP legislators Th BIswajit and Kh Joykishan attended the function.
Prior to the resignation of the two former Congress leaders, former food and civil supplies minister Yumkham Erabot — who is the longest-serving MLA from Wangkhei constituency — had left the party on September 12 to join the BJP.
Earlier, former congress MLA Dr Kh Loken and former speaker Budhichandra’s son Dr Sapam Ranjan also joined the BJP.
During the function, Assam’s health and education minister Hemanta Biswas Sharma, the convenor of a newly floated North-East Democratic Alliance, pronounced that the BJP is committed for the development of the region.
He also expressed confidence that the BJP will come to power in Manipur after the 2017 polls.