Rights activist Irom Sharmila Chanu took her mission to fight chief minister Okram Ibobi Singh in the upcoming crucial assembly elections a step ahead on Saturday, getting herself a rented house for her stay in Thoubal, Ibobi Singh's home turf.
Co-convener of her newly-floated party, People's Resurgence and Justice Alliance (PRJA), Sharmila went to Thoubal on her bicycle and chose the room herself.
"Today, I found a room on rent at Thoubal Wangmataba, the home constituency of the chief minister, for my temporary stay. It will also be used as PRJA Thoubal office. I'll move there within the next few days," Sharmila told TOI on Saturday. "After putting up there, I, along with my workers and supporters in Thoubal, will kick off our poll campaign," the 'Iron Lady of Manipur' said, adding that she had already begun canvassing there.Manipur will go to the polls in two phases - March 4 for 38 seats and March 8 for the remaining 22 seats, of which 11 are in the hills and as many in the valley, including Thoubal.
The driving force behind Sharmila's intention of taking on the chief minister is his "failure to scrap the controversial Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act (AFSPA) in Manipur and fulfil the people's aspirations during his 15-year regime." Sharmila ended her epic 16-year fast against the military act on August 9 last year and announced she would contest polls.
PRJA convener Erendro Leichombam (33), who is contesting from the Thangmeiband constituency in Imphal West, said the party will field at least seven candidates, of which five have been finalised and have begun canvassing. As part of its unique strategy, PRJA has been canvassing in religious houses and holding social interaction programmes at the village and district levels in addition to conducting group discussions with youths and students.
On Thursday, PRJA members, led by Erendro and Sharmila, visited Gurudwara Sahib at Thangal Bazar in Imphal under Thangmeiband constituency on the occasion of the 350th birth anniversary of the 10th Guru Gobind Singh.