Manipur Chief Minister Okram Ibobi Singh’s son, Surajkumar, 29, who is fighting the state assembly elections from the Khangabok constituency, plans to stress on modern technology and digitisation in the northeastern state if elected….writes Iboyaima Laithangbam
Surajkumar, the Chief Minister’s only son, is set to be the youngest candidate in Manipur’s history to fight the state assembly elections.
Surajkumar’s mother Okram Landhoni, who has been the MLA from Khangabok for two consecutive terms, announced her retirement from electoral politics, to make way for her son.
The block Congress recently made an announcement on Surjakumar’s candidature.
Landhoni said she would continue serving the people as a social activist. There will be a multi-cornered contest in this constituency that has about 31,000 voters.
Surajkumar, who did his schooling in Manipur and some other states, went to London where he graduated in Economics in 2008. He worked there for a while before returning home to help his parents in their election campaign for the 2012 polls.
Surajkumar told IANS: “I had never dreamed of joining politics. I had planned to do business. However, I silently decided to do something for the people. My first direct contact with the suffering people was when villagers of the Khangabok constituency reeled under two devastating floods.”
Earlier, he had planned to set up some residential schools so that the children are not denied classes. “Manipur is notorious for general strikes, blockades and other forms of obstructions and the students are denied classes for nearly five months each year.”
A prominent national level polo player, Surajkumar said, “Global warming and rampant deforestation are serious problems. Over 100 like-minded persons have formed the Green Revolution Society, Manipur, which has planted about 200,000 saplings.”
Surajkumar, who has widely travelled abroad, has observed how basic amenities are not lacking in most countries. “The Congress government has ensured glut power supply and there is no reason why there should be paucity of potable water in Manipur. We have the Loktak, the largest lake in eastern India, and as such the people should not face a drought-like situation,” he said.
He also said that the Manipuris are hard-working and innovative and they could forge ahead with little guidance and assistance. He admits being a chip off the old block.
Surajkumar plans to move the state forward through modern technology and digitisation. “Of course, the flagship programmes shall remain there,” he added.
His mother, Landhoni, who has been the MLA for two consecutive terms, is happy that her son will take charge. She plans to take up social service for the poor. “My doors are kept open and, most importantly, I will be able to spend time with my grandson and look after the home,” Laldhoni told IANS.
His father, who was first elected in 1985, has been Chief Minister for three consecutive terms. He appears only too happy to hand over the baton to his son.
Surajkumar said: “I have closely watched the style of working of my father. If given a chance I shall keep his vision alive.”
Manipur goes to the polls in two phases — March 4 and 8 — for its 60 seats.