Confident Guv will invite us to form govt, says Ibobi
IMPHAL: Giving a major jolt to the BJP led coalition government in Manipur headed by Chief Minister N Biren Singh, nine MLAs including four NPP ministers, 3 BJP MLAs, one TMC MLA, and an independent MLA withdrew support from the coalition Government and announced their support to the Congress party.
Following the resignations, the dynamics of power-sharing in the state has seen a change and there can be further damage inflicted if more MLAs resign.
On Wednesday, four NPP ministers namely Deputy Chief Minister Y Joykumar, Health and Family Welfare Minister L Jayentakumar, YAS & Water Resources Minister Letpao Haokip and Tribal Affairs & Hills Development and Fisheries Minister N Kayisii submitted their resignation from the Government to Chief Minister N Biren Singh.
Deputy CM Y Joykumar formally announced their withdrawal from the Government at a press conference.
Besides, three legislators of the ruling BJP MLAs namely S Subaschandra of Naoriya Pakhanglakpa AC, Samuel Jendai of Tamenglong AC and T Thangzalam Haokip of Henglep AC also resigned from the primary membership of the party. They also submitted letters to the Speaker informing their resignation as members of the Manipur Legislative Assembly.
Lone Trinamul MLA T Robindro who is the chairman of Planning & Development Authority, and independent MLA from Jiribam AC Md Ashabuddin also withdrew support to the Government, leaving the BJP led government in a conundrum.
Congress Legislature Party leader Okram Ibobi warmly received the MLAs who had switched over to the party. Sources said that the NPP and TMC MLAs will extend support to Congress without changing their party affiliation.
CLP leader Okram Ibobi said that Congress is a party which strongly believes in the maxim “slow and steady wins the race”. The party has been working to ensure that the party does not lose public trust, he said. Our party warmly welcomes the new faces who had joined the party and we will work together for the people with a commitment, he added.
For the present, the effective strength of Congress is 27. The party will have more than 30 MLAs if the four MLAs from NPP, 3 BJP MLAs, lone TMC MLA and an independent MLA are clubbed together, he said adding that the party will stake claim to form the Government.
The 60-member Manipur Assembly has a current strength of 59 MLAs after Shyamkumar Singh of Andro Assembly constituency, who had defected to the BJP from Congress, was disqualified. Notably, the Manipur High Court’s order restrained 7 Congress MLAs who had defected to BJP from entering to Manipur Legislative Assembly till the final disposal of the pending disqualification cases against them by the Speaker in the Speaker’s Tribunal. The High Court directed the Speaker to ensure compliance of the order.
With three BJP MLAs joining Congress, the party now has 24 members in the Assembly even though former CM Okram Ibobi Singh claimed the effective strength of the party is now 27.
With its three MLAs having withdrawn from the primary membership of the party, the strength of BJP which had won 21 seats in 2017 election has reduced to 18. The party still receives the support of four MLAs of NPF.
Manipur’s assembly elections in 2017 had yielded a hung verdict, with the Congress emerging as the single largest party with 28 MLAs in the house of 60. The BJP had 21 MLAs.
The Governor, Najma Heptulla, had interestingly invited BJP to stake claim to form the next government. The BJP managed to form the government enlisting the support of all non-Congress MLAs — BJP (21), Naga Peoples’ Front (4), National People’s Party (4), TMC (1), LJP (1), 1 Independent. Later, Congress’ Shyamkumar Singh defected to BJP and seven more Congress MLAs joined the saffron party, taking the strength of the NDA to 40 members in the House.
Ibobi said that last time the Governor did not give an opportunity to Congress to form the government although the grand old party emerged as the single largest party in 2017 state assembly election with 28 MLAs. We were helpless then but this time we strongly believe that the Governor will invite us to form the government, he added.