Updated on 9 Nov 2021, 6:56 pm
(L-R) RK Imo Singh and Yamthong Haokip felicitated by BJP national spokesperson Sambit Patra and Union Minister Sarbananda Sonowal, New Delhi (PHOTO: Twitter)
As former Congress leader RK Imo went by the script while speaking to the press at the BJP reception in New Delhi, Yamthong Haokip was more straight-forward while explaining his decision to join BJP. RK Imo was all praise for Prime Minister Narendra Modi as he said he took the decision of joining BJP after seeing the works done by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in the last few years and observing the peace and development across the country. While highlighting the abrogation of Article 370 and implementation of Inner Line Permit System as key decisions for inspiring him, he expressed satisfaction at the improved law and order situation in the state and successful bridging of the gap in hill-valley relations and also the bandh-blockade free atmosphere created by N Biren Singh-led coalition government. Well, he had done what was expected of him and he never wavered from the script. But then, RK Imo was no ordinary Congressman but also the son-in-law of the present BJP Chief Minister N Biren Singh who jumped ship just before the 2017 state assembly elections. He is also the son of Manipur’s first Union Minister and former Chief Minister late RK Jaichandra Singh, a staunch Congressman and a lawyer who represented Indira Gandhi at the Trikha Commission here in Imphal. Right from the days of his grandfather, his family was with the Congress and his father was considered to be quite close to former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi and the powerful Nehru-Gandhi family.
But after his father-in-law became the chief minister, RK Imo was in a quite unenviable position as he was neither trusted by the top leaders of the Congress nor liked by the compatriots of his father-in-law in BJP. He was always seen as a liability for N Biren Singh remaining in power and he had to prove his worth in 2020 Rajya Sabha elections which led to his expulsion from the Congress party on the grounds of alleged cross voting. It is a known fact that N Biren government had always his old friends in the Congress to put a check on the push and pulls of unfriendly allies and dissenters to his leadership within the party and many a times his neck was saved by those friendly Congress MLAs who seem neither in nor out of Congress. But when the crunch came just before the Rajya Sabha elections, the BJP candidate Maharaj Leishemba won through a skilful manoeuvring of the Tenth Schedule and some cross-voting. Those who voted for the BJP candidate came out in the open and were awarded ministerial berths, while the credit for cross voting and ministership went to RK Imo. But, he was always seen as an outsider or interloper within the BJP family and his admission to the party fold might have caused a few heartburns.
Well, as BJP’s dream run for a 40 plus figure in the 2022 elections moves ahead RK Imo and Yamthong Haokip’s recent entry heralds the possibility of more Congressmen jumping ship. As we said before, it is not because of the ideology or the charm of Prime Minister Narendra Modi that many, including Congressmen are flocking to the BJP. It is the lure of being part of the ruling party and nobody wants to be left standing on a sinking ship. To that, Yamthong Haokip was brutally honest. He said he could not bring progress and development in his assembly constituency by being in the opposition. He neither has any ill-feeling towards the Congress party nor over excited to join BJP. But he joined BJP solely on the belief that he can serve more for society and give more satisfaction to the public by becoming a part of the ruling party. So much for rhetoric or being politically correct.