Convener of People’s Resurgence and Justice Alliance (PRJA) Erendro Leichonbam has issued a statement saying that Irom Sharmila will be contesting the Manipur assembly elections from Thoubal seat. The decision has been taken in the wake of the list of 60 candidates for Manipur assembly elections released by the Congress party. In the list, it was mentioned that the current CM of Manipur Okram Ibobi Singh will be contesting from the Thoubal seat. Sharmila wants to challenge the CM in his own turf, which is why she has decided to contest from Thoubal seat. However, political pundits are not sure whether this is a good decision since Sharmila is largely a political greenhorn whereas Ibobi Singh has been leading the Congress party to victory in Manipur for three successive terms.
It may be recalled that Irom Sharmila had launched her party PRJA in October last year after she broke her 16-year-old hunger strike. She is widely known for her fight against the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) and her hunger strike was her way to protest against the act. Sharmila aspires to become the CM of Manipur, something that will give her the required political representation to press for the repeal of the contentious AFSPA. Her party PRJA was recently allotted the election symbol of ‘whistle’. She has decided to field 10 candidates for the assembly elections that will be held on March 4 and 8. The party has already started campaigning for her in Thoubal.