Manipur MLA Yumkham Irabot Singh deserted the ruling Congress party and joined BJP along with his supporters. A long time rival of Manipur CM Okram Ibobi Singh, Irabot was apparently miffed with the CM’s style of functioning. The MLA sent a letter to the party high command informing them of his decision.
The move sent shockwaves across the state since Irabot is a senior member of the party and a six-time sitting MLA of Wangkhei constituency. He has also served as a minister and held various portfolios. Irabot told reporters in Imphal on Monday that he had resigned from the Congress “for victimizing people on all fronts in the past 15 years”. He said he had taken the decision after consulting his supporters.
The 76-year old Irabot’s decision to wear saffron assumes significance given that assembly polls in the state are due early next year. After its historic win in Assam, the BJP has set its sights on Manipur. The seasoned politician joined the BJP at a function attended among others by the party’s state unit president Kh Bhabananda.
Irabot’s ties with Ibobi started straining since the 2012 polls, in which the chief minister’s nephew Okram Henry was pitted against him (Irabot) in Wangkhei, though unsuccessfully. Meanwhile, following Erabot’s resignation, the strength of the Congress in the 60-member Manipur House, which now has an effective strength of 55, has come down to 47.