Manipuri activist Irom Sharmila, who recently broke a 16-year-long hunger strike, met Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Monday to talk about political strategies to defeat the Congress party in her state.
After ending her strike, which she carried on for years to protest against the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act in Manipur, the activist said that she would join politics and wants to contest for the chief minister's position. She announced that she would contest elections against the current chief minister, Okram Ibobi Singh — who belongs to the Congress.
"Met Irom Sharmila. I salute her courage and struggle. My best wishes and full support in her political endeavours," tweeted Arvind Kejriwal.
Sources said the meeting between Kejriwal and Sharmila was to discuss political strategy. Sharmila reportedly wanted to know how the AAP defeated the Congress and the BJP during Assembly polls.
As the Manipur elections will coincide with Punjab and Goa's, where the AAP has been campaigning for months, they will not shift their focus to Manipur with only six months left for the elections.
"The decision not to contest Manipur was taken long ago and with barely six months to go, there is no way the party can now suddenly rethink its decision. The support will effectively mean helping Sharmila's party strategise and advising her on the use of social media and campaign management," said a party source, according to the Indian Express. "Kejriwal has great regard for Sharmila and her crusade."
Sharmila will be contesting the Manipur elections without any alliances.
"...She considers him [Arvind Kejriwal] a good strategist and wanted to gain from his experience as she, too, will be fighting on issues such as corruption," a source close to Sharmila said.