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Five Congress ex-MLAs join regional party in Manipur
Correspondent
 IMPHAL, March 22 - Days after Congress president Rahul Gandhi kickstarted the party’s election campaign for the Lok Sabha polls in Manipur, five party ex-MLAs left the party and joined the North East India Development Party (NEIDP), a Manipur-based regional political party, on Thursday.

The ex-MLAs are Dr Ng Bijoy, RK Anand, Dr I Ibohalbi, E Chand and K Sharat.

Their joining function at NEIDP office at Sagolband in Imphal was also attended by the NEIDP functionaries.

With the joining of the senior Congressmen, the NEIDP named RK Anand and Ashang Kasar as its candidates for Inner and Outer Manipur Parliamentary Constituencies in the upcoming Lok Sabha elections.

Meanwhile, the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party has announced RK Ranjan and H Shokhopao alias Benjamin Mate as their candidates for the Inner and Outer Manipur parliamentary seats for the ensuing Lok Sabha polls scheduled to be held in the State on April 11 and 18 next.

Earlier, the Communist Party of India had named former Minister Dr M Nara as its candidate for the Inner Manipur seat. Manipur People’s Party has announced its president O Jugindro as its candidate for Inner Manipur seat and Laikham Kaipu for the Outer seat.

National People’s Party (NPP), a coalition partner of the ruling group here, has named former Minister Thangminlien Kipgen as its candidate for Outer seat recently. NPP national president and Meghalaya Chief Minister Conard K Sangma has arrived here on a two-day poll campaign for Kipgen.

Naga People’s Front, another coalition partner, has named Dr Lorho Mao as its candidate for Outer seat. Dr Lorho filed his nomination paper on March 21. The opposition Congress, however, is yet to name their candidates till the report goes to press.

In the last Lok Sabha polls in 2014, Congress had won both the Inner and Outer Manipur parliamentary seats.

PTI adds: Meanwhile, the Congress on Friday said the exit of the five former MLAs to join a regional party in Manipur will not “create any political loss” for the party.

“We have efficient candidates in all the constituencies,” a senior Congress leader said.

The Congress leader said it was “good” that the former MLAs had left as some of them were “apprehensive about not getting party tickets for the upcoming Lok Sabha elections.”

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