RK Ranjan emerges as favourite for BJP ticket


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By Our Staff Reporter
IMPHAL, Mar 23:  Sitting MP and Minister of State for External Affairs and Education Dr RK Ranjan is a front runner to get the BJP ticket for the 18th Lok Sabha elections in Inner Manipur Parliamentary Constituency. However the saffron party is yet to make an official announcement towards this.
Dr RK Ranjan who is currently at Delhi is expected to arrive here either on Sunday or Monday.
In Outer Parliamentary PC, BJP has already decided not to field its candidate but support NPF’s Kachui Timothy Zimik.
Notably, BJP and NPF are partners of the ruling coalition in Manipur.
Following NPF’s official announcement that retired IRS officer Kachui Timothy Zimik from Sanakeithel, Ukhrul district would be given the party’s ticket, Timothy Zimik has already started election campaigns.
Dr RK Ranjan is likely to be announced as BJP candidate in Inner Manipur PC as soon as he arrives at Imphal from Delhi, said well placed sources.
The rival Congress party has already named JNU Delhi Associate Professor Bimol Akoijam and former MLA Alfred Kangam Arthur as its candidates in Inner Manipur PC and Outer Manipur PC respectively.
The 18th Lok Sabha elections would be held in two phases in Manipur on April 19 and April 26.
Even though election notification for both the Parliamentary Constituencies was issued on March 20, no candidate has so far filed their nomination paper.
The last date for filing nomination papers is March 27 and scrutiny would be done the next day.
As per the election schedule announced by the Election Commission of India, March 30 is the last date for withdrawal of nomination papers.    
INDIA Bloc Manipur comprising eight political parties has already pledged their support to the two Congress candidates fighting for the two Lok Sabha seats of Manipur.
Prof Bimol Akoijam and Alfred Kangam Arthur are contesting the Lok Sabha elections as common candidates of INDIA Bloc Manipur.
Meanwhile sources informed that CPI may join the INDIA Bloc Manipur and support the Congress candidates in both Inner Manipur PC and Outer Manipur PC.
Although it was already announced that CPI would put up its State unit Secretary Laishram Sotinkumar in Inner Manipur PC, CPI Manipur State Council Secretariat members held a meeting at Irabot Bhavan here today and deliberated on whether the party should still stick to its earlier decision of fielding L Sotinkumar or drop it.  
The meeting chaired by former Minister and CPI leader Moirangthem Nara studied the option of supporting Congress candidates, Prof Bimol Akoijam and Alfred Kangam Arthur after dropping the party’s decision to field L Sotinkumar in Inner Manipur PC.
Some CPI leaders told The Sangai Express that the decision to field Sotinkumar may be dropped after seeking concurrence from CPI Central leaders tomorrow.