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Sharmila’s party releases poll manifesto
Correspondent
 IMPHAL, Feb 23 - The People’s Resurgence and Justice Alliance (PRJA), a political party co-founded by iconic rights activist Irom Chanu Sharmila, released a 10-point election manifesto at a simple function here today. Manipur goes to the polls on March 4 and 8.

Committed to working towards the repeal of the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA), the manifesto also promises to establish the Lokayukta, and anti-corruption bureaus, and redrafting of the Inner Line Permit Bill to ensure the rights of all stakeholders, besides developing a self-sustainable economy.

“If one of us is elected, we will initiate a resolution on the AFSPA in the Assembly as no legislator has ever done so,” convener Erendro Leichombam of the PRJA claimed. “Ninety per cent of the population in Manipur wants the AFSPA to go as per a survey.”

He also alleged that the Manipur legislators are not powerful enough to act on this count. “So we have to make a political will. We can fight for it if we are together,” Erendro, who is contesting on a PRJA ticket from Thangmeiband constituency in Imphal, said. The Congress and BJP had fought for the seat in the last two Assembly polls.

Reacting to a question as to why she is contesting from the Thoubal seat against Chief Minister Okram Ibobi Singh in the ensuing election, and not from Khurai in Imphal East district, co-convener of PRJA Irom Sharmila said, “I want to gauge the real feelings of the people of the constituency. Winning or losing an election is at the hands of the public. But we should make a beginning,” she added.

The PRJA, co-founded by Sharmila after ending her 15-year fast on August 9 last year, has fielded only three candidates – Erendro in Thangmeiband, Sharmila in Thoubal and Najima Bibi in Wabagai constituencies. But the party maintains that even if one of them wins, they will be the voice of the Manipuri people in the Assembly and raise relevant issues.

Significantly, none of the three candidates is taking any security cover like other candidates for the ensuing elections. “We do not want any VIP culture. After all, the people will feel insecure if we take security,” James Mayengbam, another functionary of PRJA, said.

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