Imphal: Within a day of Congress President Rahul Gandhi kick-starting the party's election campaign in Manipur, five former party MLAs and many workers quit the party on Thursday and joined a regional outfit.
R.K. Anand, who was defeated in the last assembly elections, will now contest the Inner Manipur Lok Sabha constituency as a candidate of the North East India Development party.
Another former Congress MLA N. Bijoy, who did not make it in the last elections, is the president of this regional party. The three other former MLAs are K. Sarat, I. Ibohal and E. Chand.
However, the state Congress unit made light of their exit.
State Congress chief Gaikhangam told IANS that the five had already resigned from the party. Noting that some of them had applied for party ticket for the Lok Sabha polls, he said that they were apprehensive that they may not get the ticket and their resignations are purely for self-interest.
Congress workers in the Oinam block also resigned en masse and announced that the office was closed down, block president L. Angou announced.
The activists said that during his two-day visit, Gandhi had nothing to say about the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act, 1958 or the framework agreement signed with the Nagas but "merely came for electioneering".