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Manipur Congress legislator joins BJP

Imphal, Jan 9 (IANS) Tribal leader and Congress MLA Chaltonlien Amo of Tipaimukh Assembly constituency joined the ruling BJP on Sunday -- a day after the Election Commission announced the schedule of the elections to the 60-member Manipur assembly.

Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Manipur state president A. Sharda Devi welcomed the 67-years-old tribal leader Amo, who is also the Manipur state Congress vice-president in the saffron party at a simple function here.

Chief Minister N. Biren Singh, Union Environment, Forest and Climate Change Minister Bhupender Yadav, and Union Minister of State for Social Justice and Empowerment, Pratima Bhowmik were also present.

Yadav and Bhowmik both are Central leaders of the BJP, overseeing the assembly election affairs in Manipur on behalf of the party.

Sharda Devi said the joining of Amo is an example of conviction in the proactive policies of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and N. Biren Singh led governments to develop Manipur and the entire northeastern region.

"I welcome Chaltonlien Amo Tipaimukh to the BJP family. The BJP is going from strength to strength in Manipur due to people's belief in the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the great work being done by Chief Minister N. Biren Singh in the state," Yadav tweeted.

Earlier also, several Congress leaders including state Congress president Govindas Konthoujam and few MLAs quit the party and joined the BJP.

After 15 years, the Congress was ousted by the BJP-led alliance in the 2017 Assembly polls, despite emerging as the single-largest party with 28 seats.

But the saffron party, which had bagged 21 seats, stitched together a coalition government with the support of four National People's Party (NPP) MLAs, four Naga People's Front (NPF) members, the lone Trinamool Congress MLA and an Independent member.

The assembly elections would be held in Manipur in two phases on February 27 and March 3.

The counting of votes will take place on March 10.