Four defected Congress MLAs rejoin party as Ibobi stakes claim to form govt; floor test demanded
IMPHAL: In yet another major boost for the Ibobi-led Congress party in the state, four of the seven Congress MLAs who had defected to BJP camp have reportedly returned to Congress Party and joined its camp opened somewhere in Imphal West.
The 4 MLAs are MLA Y Surchandra of Kakching AC, MLA P Brojen of Wangjing Tentha AC, MLA Ksh Biren of Lamlai AC and MLA S Bira of Kumbi AC, sources said.
Seven Congress MLAs namely MLA Ngamthang Haokip of Saitu assembly constituency; MLA Paonam Brojen of Wangjing Tentha assembly constituency; MLA Y Surchandra of Kakching assembly constituency; MLA Sanasam Bira of Kumbi assembly constituency; MLA O Lukhoi of Wangoi assembly constituency and MLA Ginsuanhau of Singhat assembly constituency switched their allegiance to BJP and they are facing disqualification cases consequent upon petitions by the Congress party MLAs.
On June 8, the Manipur High Court single bench of Justice Kh Nobin had restrained the 7 defected Congress MLAs from entering the Manipur Legislative Assembly premises unless and until the Speaker, Manipur Legislative Assembly decides and disposes the disqualification petitions.
On the other hand, a day after nine MLAs comprising of four NPP ministers, 3 BJP MLAs, one TMC MLA and an independent MLA had withdrawn their support to the BJP-led coalition government, the Congress Party on Thursday urged Governor Dr Najima Heptulla to call a special session of the Manipur Legislative Assembly to adopt a No Confidence Motion resolution against N Biren led ministry.
CLP leader Okram Ibobi has submitted a letter to the Governor in this regard today. He informed her that a Secular Progressive Front comprising of Congress, NPP, AITC, and independent MLA was formed with him as the leader.
Ibobi in the memorandum said BJP-led coalition Government has collapsed due to internal wrangling after nine MLAs including four NPP ministers, 3 BJP MLAs, one TMC MLA, and an independent MLA of Jiribam withdrew support to the coalition Government, thereby reducing the present ministry to a minority. A no confidence motion against the council of ministers has been moved before the Speaker with a specific request to hold a special Assembly session to debate, consider and pass a resolution on the motion at the earliest.
It urged the Governor to exercise the powers under Article 174 of the Constitution to summon a special house session at the earliest to vote on the motion of no confidence against the present minority council of ministers to protect democracy in the state.
It said, with 7 MLAs of Congress barred from entering the house by the High Court, the strength of the INC in the house is now 20 while that of the BJP after resignation of 3 of its MLAs had been reduced to 18. The present ministry is now supported by only 23 MLAs (18 from BJP, 4 from NPF and one from LJSP). On the other hand, the SPF has 20 Congress MLAs, 4 NPP, one AITC, and one independent totaling 26 members out of an effective total house of strength of 49 members. In the event of the disqualification cases of 7 MLAs of INC decided by the speaker tribunal in their own favour, then the effective house strength rises to 56 members and the INC and its supporting parties of the SPF will command 33 MLAs while the BJP and its coalition partners will continue with a combined strength of 23. Thus the present ministry is now in the minority, it said and demanded the Governor to summon a special house session within a couple of days to ensure that a floor test is conducted to prove his majority.
Or alternatively, since the present ministry is in the minority, it may be dismissed outright and to uphold the principle of democracy and Okram Ibobi, CLP leader of the SPF which commands majority may be invited to form the Government, it added.
On the other hand, CLP leader Okram Ibobi informed reporters that Congress party has recived appointment schedule to meet Governor Dr Najima Heptulla tomorrow regarding formation of a new Government. If the present Biren led ministry fails to prove majority, a Congress led coalition Government (SPF) will be formed. The coalition parties have agreed to formulate a common minimum programme.
He said that a joint memorandum had submitted to the Governor urging her to summon a special house session to conduct a floor test.
For Congress, we have been working as a constructive opposition in public interest. Our party did not pull out the nine MLAs from the present Government. They withdrew support to the Government due to internal crisis. As they had withdrawn from the Government, Congress party strongly feels that the party will now be able to command a majority in the house. Let the present Government continue their administration if they can prove majority. Else, newly formed Congress led SPF which has enough strength MLAs is supposed to be given an opportunity to form the Government and Governor should convene a special house session to conduct floor test at the earliest, Ibobi added.
Speaker accepts resignation of 3 BJP MLAs
Speaker Manipur Legislative Assembly has accepted the resignation of the three BJP MLAs namely S Subaschandra of Naoriya Pakhanglakpa AC, Samuel Jendai of Tamenglong AC and T Thangzalam Haokip of Henglep AC on Thursday.
Secretary Manipur Legislative Assembly has issued separate bulletins to this effect on Thursday and announced that the seats of Naoriya Pakhanglakpa AC, Tamenglong AC and Henglep AC are lying vacant.
The three ruling BJP MLAs resigned from the membership of Manipur Legislative Assembly by submitting resignation letters to the Speaker on Wednesday as well from the primary membership of the BJP. They switched their allegiance to Congress Party.