Th Biswajit

Before 2015, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) hardly had any base in Manipur. However, Th Biswajit had the vision to foresee the party’s future in a state with a diverse population. So, he quit the Trinamool Congress and started working on building the BJP’s base and strengthening the party.

Some senior leaders, including the present Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma, felt Biswajit was risking his political career for a party that did not have a single seat in the Congress-dominated Manipur.

But Biswajit proved everyone wrong in 2017, and the BJP surprised everyone by winning 21 of the state’s 60 seats to form a coalition government. Ahead of the 2017 election, he was the BJP’s lone MLA in Manipur, and he was instrumental in bringing several Congress legislators, including now-caretaker Chief Minister N Biren Singh, to the BJP’s fold.

Fast forwarded to 2022, the party had a thumping victory, bagging 32 seats to secure an outright majority. One person credited with changing the BJP’s fortunes in Manipur is Biswajit.

“He came from the TMC and contributed immensely to the BJP’s massive growth in Manipur. We all know this, and we must acknowledge it,” the Assam CM had said recently in Imphal.

“When he was joining the BJP, I wondered what made him take this huge risk. He said the BJP has come to Assam, and we will work hard together to form a BJP government in Manipur. He could visualise the BJP’s rise in Manipur,” Sarma had stated.

In 2015, Biswajit was disqualified for defecting to the BJP from the TMC. He fought a by-election and won with a handsome margin. His former TMC colleague Khumukcham Joykishan, who got elected on a BJP ticket after the bye-elections the same year, had defected to the Congress ahead of 2017 state polls.

Biswajit, a four-time MLA from the Thongju constituency, comes from a humble background. As a young boy, he helped his family eke out a living by collecting the wild “Kouna” (water rush plant), widely used in Manipur for making handicraft products.

Despite being the senior-most BJP MLA in 2017, supported N Biren Singh when the latter was appointed as the Chief Minister.

In 2016, when Biswajit was the general secretary of BJP Manipur, he was arrested and sent to jail by the then Congress government for protesting against maladministration in the recruitment of Manipur Police personnel. However, he succeeded in streamlining the recruitment process.

He had exposed several corruption cases and scams of the Congress regime. He was the binding force that kept the various alliance partners of BJP, NPP and NPF together.

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