Everywhere HuffPost India travelled in Manipur, few people even appeared to register that she was contesting in the upcoming elections, and even fewer were convinced she could be a political representative. "But I will fight as a social activist", she was quoted as saying.
Irom Sharmila, who held her fast-unto-death for 16 long years to demand the repeal of AFSPA, has lost the election, miserably.
File image of Irom Sharmila. Its co-convenor, Erendro Leichombam, who contested from the Thangmeiband constituency and managed to secure only 573 votes, had earlier said he was confident that all three of their candidates would "win by a huge margin".
Sharmila had faced a severe shortage of funds to campaign for the Peoples' Resurgence and Justice Alliance, which she had formed after ending her 16-year fast in August 2016. Both paths, of agitation and of electoral politics, seem to be closed to her now. On her birthday, one can only hope that Manipur remembers what the fearless fighter did for them and quickly forgets her political misadventure. For the people on the ground, however, it falls much below the day-to-day struggles of bandh and blockade and lack of development. Her decision to take a new route caused her to lose the support of an important and influential demographic group.
She also said she was happy to be in Kerala, from where she had got lot of support for her fight against AFPSA.
While the PRJA and Sharmila's first tryst with politics was admired by some, most people in Manipur knew that the outcome of the election would play out unfavourably for them.
All Sharmila had said was that the army should not rape women. This means about 0.33% of the constituency voted for her.
Sharmila is a human rights activist, and a renowned one at that. She also told media that she will be looking into the tribal issues of Attapadi.
She said: 'I will continue my fight against AFSPA until and unless it is repealed.
Singh won garnering 18,649 votes while his main opponent BJP's L Basanta Singh got only 8,179.
According to a report in Times of India, Irom Sharmila said that the people of Manipur should realise that the BJP, which staked claim to form government in that state, had used money and muscle power in the Assembly polls.