People protest in Manipur after their supporting candidates were denied tickets by the BJP | Photo courtesy: NDTV

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has denied tickets to three of its sitting legislators in Manipur. The BJP announced the list of its candidates for all the 60 seats in the state assembly elections.

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After the ruling party released the final list of candidates, BJP flags and banners were torched at many places across Manipur as people vented frustration after a good number of intending candidates were denied tickets.

Reports said that a number of intending candidates, including three sitting MLAs of the saffron party who were denied the party ticket, tendered resignations from the primary memberships while some of them have immediately shifted political affiliations to contest the ensuing polls.

The ruling BJP released its much-awaited list of candidates to be fielded in all the 60 seats of the state assembly on January 30 afternoon. While missing names of the three sitting MLAs of the party, the saffron party also offered tickets to many political turncoats sidelining the warnings of the party mandals.

The three sitting MLAs who missed the tickets were Yumkham Erabot of Wangkhei constituency in Imphal East district, M Rameshwar of Kakching constituency and P Saratchandra of Moirang constituency of Bishnupur district.

Chief minister N Biren Singh will contest for re-election from Heingang constituency of Imphal East district where he was elected in the last 2017 election.

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Minutes after the list went viral on social media and after it was officially released, a large number of workers and supporters of intending candidates across the state pulled down flags and banners of the BJP in their respective areas and burnt them in protest against ticket denial to the candidates supported by them. While indulging in the rampage, party mandal functionaries also declared abolition of BJP units in their respective constituencies.

Along the Tiddim Road (Imphal-Churachandpur road), BJP workers and supporters in large numbers came out on streets and blocked the traffic at a Sagolband area. They came to register a strong protest against giving away the party ticket to MLA RK Imo Singh who recently joined the BJP sidelining former MLA Khwairakpam Loken who had contested the election on BJP ticket in 2017 elections. The protesters torched flags, posters and other documents of the party after they ransacked BJP Sagolband mandal.

In a separate incident, while torching party flags and banners, workers and supporters of sitting MLA M Rameshwar who was denied the party ticket declared abolition of BJP unit in the constituency.

In this constituency, the saffron party sidelined the sitting party MLA M Rameshwar and gave it to former MLA Yengkhom Surchandra who recently joined the party.

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In Wankhei constituency also, workers and supporters of MLA Y Erabot declared abolition of BJP mandal of the constituency while protesting against giving away the party ticket to O Henry.

Erabot also tendered his resignation from the saffron party and joined the NPP later in the evening.

Meanwhile, another BJP’s intending candidate in the constituency Thangjam Arunkumar also resigned from the primary membership of BJP.

An entrepreneur-turned politician, Arunkumar joined the saffron party recently.

Manipur will go to polls in two phases -on February 27 and March 3. Polling will take place in 38 constituencies in the first phase. The second phase of polling in 22 seats will be on March 3. The counting of votes will take place on March 10.

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