At a time when the BJP is going all guns blazing against black money and corruption, Manipur activist Irom Sharmila alleged on Sunday that the BJP wanted her to contest against Chief Minister Okram Ibobi Singh and had told her that she would need Rs 36 crore to fight the polls.
Speaking to NDTV, the 44-year-old Sharmila added that if she did not have the funds, the party had promised to have the required amount sanctioned by the Centre.
"Their suggestion was that to fight Ibobi, I will need Rs 36 crore. If I have it (the money), I should produce it. If not, the Centre would sanction it," she told the channel.
However, she declined the offer and chose to fight as an Independent in the Thoubal constituency, which the incumbent chief minister has been winning in the past three Assembly elections.
Nevertheless, the activist-turned-politician's allegation did not go down very well with the BJP, which called the claim an "absolute lie".
Reacting to the claim, BJP national secretary Ram Madhav took to Twitter to hit out at Sharmila.
Absolute lie. Our entire election campaign in MANIPUR doesn't cost that much. She should find respectable ways of fighting elections https://t.co/Yp5q1Vf9Ev
— Ram Madhav (@rammadhavbjp) February 12, 2017
Meanwhile, the ruling Congress on Wednesday reached the EC to complaint against the BJP.
Congress complains to EC regarding allegations made by Irom Sharmila that she was offered 36 crore to contest election. pic.twitter.com/lzcP9QFIHG
— ANI (@ANI_news) February 15, 2017
In August 2016, Sharmila broke her 16-year-long hunger strike to have the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (Afspa) — that many claim is draconian in nature — scrapped in the North East Indian state. She also decided to take a plunge into electoral politics and recently launched her own party, the Peoples' Resurgence and Justice Alliance (PRJA).
Manipur, which is currently facing an economic blockade, goes to the polls in two phases — on 4 and 8 March.
Updated Date: Feb 15, 2017 15:35 PM