Has former super cop Th Brinda, who has been a vocal critic of chief minister N Biren Singh-led BJP government in Manipur, joined the saffron party?

An identity card is doing rounds on social media platforms, identifying the decorated Manipur cop as an active member of the BJP, fuelling speculation that she will be contesting the upcoming 12th Manipur legislative assembly elections from Yaiskul Assembly segment from the BJP ticket.

Though many had not anticipated the possibility of her joining BJP when she declared to plunge into electoral politics, the development of her BJP active membership identity card has left some of her fans and supporters shocked and surprised. Reactions on social media platforms have indicated division of opinions among her support base. To some, the party is secondary, integrity of the candidate is paramount and they are confident that she will walk the talk. Some say straight “no” if she joins the saffron brigade and seek clarification from her. They could not fathom the possibility of her joining the BJP as she is a fierce critic of the ruling dispensation and many fans voiced betrayal.

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While district president of BJP Imphal Central District Aribam Punyabanta Sharma has issued a statement maintaining that he doesn’t recognise or accept her as ‘active member’ of BJP Manipur Pradesh, Brinda is holding the cards close to her chest and letting rumour mill work overtime. She has not divulged which party she will be joining and has dodged media queries to end the speculation and controversy.

However, the district president of BJP Imphal Central District’s letter addressed to the president of BJP Manipur claimed: “The ID card number was issued to one Gurumayum Mahabir Sharma, not to Brinda.”

Drawing attention of the state BJP president and seeking necessary action, Aribam Punyabanta stated that on “January 6, 2022, Salam Santosh Singh of Brahmapur Aribam Leikai Yaiskul A/CEx-Councillor of Ward No. 18 accompanied a person, Gurumayum Mahabir Sharma of Yaiskul A/C, who is said to be long time worker of BJP, to get ‘Active Member’ card of BJP Manipur Pradesh for the latter.”

“I signed on the blank active member form to become Gurumayum Mahabir Sharma as “Active Member” of BJP Manipur Pradesh in good faith. Later on, I found out that instead of Gurumayum Mahabir Sharma, they enter the name of Th. Brinda Devi of Yaiskul 1 Janmasthan Hicham Yaicham Pat and obtained “Active Member” Bearing No. BJP-19/14/11730,” he wrote.

Since the declaration of her decision to jump into electoral politics, Brinda has maintained that many political parties have offered their tickets and the final call will be made in consultation with the people of Yaiskul.

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Th Brinda, who is a daughter-in-law of former chairman of the United National Liberation Front (UNLF), RK Sanaiyaima, has been on limelight she joined the Manipur Police after clearing Manipur civil services exam conducted by Manipur public service commission in 2012.

Entry into the Manipur police was not an easy walk for her. She had to approach the Supreme Court and high court to get her appointment letter after the then government held it back, citing potential leak of government policies and secrets if she was appointed to Manipur Police service, being the daughter-in-law of imprisoned rebel leader Sanayaima.

Few years later in 2016, Brinda tendered her resignation from Manipur Police as DSP of 9th IRB, alleging ill-treatment, humiliation and selective harassment in the department from senior officers. Post the BJP coming into power in 2017, she was promoted to the rank of additional superintendent of police (ASP) from Deputy SP and to the NAB (Narcotics and Affairs of Border), where she cracked down on many drug cartels and high profile criminals.

Brinda was also given a meritorious award by Chief Minister N Biren Singh in 2018 for her ground breaking achievements then. Later, however, and after a prolonged and controversial legal face-off with the Autonomous District Council chairman, Lhukhosei Zou, who was arrested by Brinda along with drugs worth several crores, the court absolved the accused drug kingpin of all charges. Th Brinda remained critical of both judicial instruments and the present N Biren Singh-led government. Then in 2021, her voluntary resignation was accepted by the department of Personnel and she is now formally retired and contesting from Yaiskul assembly constituency.

Th Brinda’s recent active membership card of the BJP was signed by Sharda Devi, BJP state president and herself. There has been no clarification from the BJP or Th Brinda whether she indeed is a bonafide active member of the saffron brigade.

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