Imphal: Manipur Youth Affairs and Sports (YAS) minister, Letpao Haokip has joined BJP today. Letpao was elected from the NPP ticket in the 2017 assembly election. He joined the BJP at the party headquarters in New Delhi in the presence of Union environment minister Bhupendra Yadav and BJP national spokesperson Sambit Patra, among others, reports said.
Haokip is one of the four MLAs of NPP and one of two party legislators who enjoys a ministerial berth in the BJP-led coalition government in Manipur.
After his departure from NPP, the strength of the party in the current Manipur Legislative Assembly has been reduced to three.
Haokip’s departure from NPP would give no impact to the party, said NPP national vice president and incumbent deputy chief minister of Manipur, Y Joykumar Singh. He also said that Haokip’s departure was not a surprise move. The party has long been expecting his departure, he added. “Besides, he was among the intending candidates who the NPP considers would lose the election this time”, the deputy chief minister further said. Joykumar added that the party (NPP) learnt that Haokip was going to contest the election this time from Tengnoupal assembly constituency leaving Chandel assembly constituency where he was elected in the last Assembly election in 2017. Besides, the NPP has plans to send out party’s candidates in both the Assembly constituencies, he added.
At the same time, Joykumar said that from the party side there is nothing to say except wishing him success.
The deputy chief minister then said that NPP is expecting to field more than 40 candidates in the upcoming poll to the Manipur Legislative Assembly, while reiterating that the party will emerge as the single largest party if not the absolute majority. “The party will also take a major role in the formation of the next government in the state after the election which is likely to be held in February-March.”