Ruling BJPs ally in Manipur, the National People's Party (NPP), on Monday announced the first list of 20 candidates for the Assembly elections to be held in two phases on February 27 and March 3.
The list approved by NPP's national President and Meghalaya Chief Minister Conrad K. Sangma included Deputy Chief Minister Yumnam Joy kumar Singh (Uripok Assembly constituency), and sitting MLAs L. Jayanta Kumar Singh (Keishamthong) and N. Kayisii (Tadubi), among others.
After Congress, the NPP, also a national party, announced the candidates' list where names of only two women candidates -- W. Sumati Devi (Lamsang) and Nalini Devi (Oinam) -- featured.
Announcing the list in Imphal, NPP's election management committee chief Joy Kumar Singh indicated that the party might announce the names of more candidates soon.
NPP supremo Conrad K. Sangma had earlier announced to contest the elections on its own by fielding candidates in at least 40 of the 60 Assembly seats in Manipur.
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which had bagged 21 seats in the last Assembly elections in 2017, stitched together a coalition government with the support of four NPP MLAs, four Naga People's Front (NPF) members, the lone Trinamool Congress MLA and an Independent member.
The BJP wrested power in Manipur for the first time five years ago by pipping the Congress, which was ousted from power after 15 years despite emerging as the single-largest party with 28 seats.
No leaders from the BJP, NPP or the NPF have so far disclosed their position about any possible pre-poll alliance.
BJP sources in Imphal said that the party might declare its candidates' list on Tuesday or Wednesday.
Manipur Chief Minister N. Biren Singh, senior minister Thongam Biswajit, who is holding six important portfolios, and state BJP chief Adhikarimayum Sharda Devi have been camping in Delhi for the past two days for consultation with the central leaders with regard to selection of candidates and finalising election strategies.
The Janata Dal (United) also on Monday announced a list of 16 candidates for the Manipur Assembly polls.
The elections to the 60-member Manipur Assembly would be held in two phases on February 27 and March 3. The counting of votes will take place on March 10.