Imphal: Irom Sharmila, the 'Iron Lady of Manipur who is contesting an election to the state assembly in January, has kicked off her poll campaign.
Addressing a gathering in her home constituency Khurai on Sunday, from where she will contest against the sitting Congress legislator N. Bijoy, Sharmila said that she would fight the elections without any money power.
She would also be taking on Chief Minister Okram Ibobi Singh in the Thoubal assembly constituency.
The civil rights and political activist said that in case she loses the assembly election, she would contest the parliamentary polls in 2019.
Sharmila was on a fast-unto-death for 16 long years to press her demand for repeal of the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act, 1958, (AFSPA) from the state. She ended her fast on August 9 amid stiff resistance from many, including her mother.
She assured the people that she has not deviated from her campaign against the draconian AFSPA for which she had earlier expressed her wish to be the Chief Minister one day in order to repeal the act.
She said: "Since there was no popular support to my fast, I decided to fight from the floor of the house."
Sharmila also floated a new party, People Resurgence and Justice Alliance in October. However, till date she remains the only member in her outfit.
Despite quite a few new parties mushrooming in the poll-bound state, the ruling Congress and the Bharatiya Janata Party remain the main contenders. They have already started their campaign.
Politicians feel that Sharmila may not shine in politics. Nimaichand Luwang, a senior BJP leader said, "Human rights and politics are two different fields."
Besides, they feel that a candidate with no money does not stand a chance.