After being denied ticket for the Manipur Assembly polls, several Bharatiya Janata Party leaders have joined the Congress and other parties, reported NDTV on Tuesday. The BJP had released the full seat of 60 candidates for the polls on Sunday.

After the list was released, the supporters of those aspiring for tickets had vandalised party offices, set BJP flags on fire and burnt effigies of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Manipur Chief Minister N Biren Singh.

The protestors were upset with the party accommodating more than a dozen defectors from the Congress and other political parties in the list of 60 candidates.

On Monday, sitting BJP MLA P Sarat Chandra Singh, former minister Ningthoujam Biren and aspiring BJP candidate Ningthoujam Joykumar Singh joined the Congress.

Besides P Sarat Chandra Singh, M Rameshwar and Y Irabot are the other sitting MLAs who have been denied a ticket, reported the Hindustan Times. Rameshwar and Irabot are yet to make a decision on switching parties.

Manipur Congress vice president and spokesperson KH Devabrata welcomed the turncoats from the BJP.

“We have already declared a list of 40 candidates and another will be out in two or three day,” Devabrata told NDTV. “But now, several BJP leaders who were denied ticket are contacting us and promising allegiance to the Congress. We are ready to welcome them.”

Five other leaders – N Mangi, S Subhaschandra, RK Rameshwar, Khaipao Haokip and Nehminthang Haokip – joined the National People’s Party, BJP’s coalition partner in Manipur. The National People’s Party, which is led by Chief Minister Conrad Sangma, is not fighting the polls with the saffron party this time.

Sangma told NDTV that the National People’s Party will put up far more candidates than the last polls and has “good ticket seekers” who want to switch from other parties.

“In the northeast, candidates are more important than the party, so what we are looking at are good candidates,” Sangma said.

The 60 seats in Manipur will got to polls in two phases on February 27 and March 3.