IMPHAL: The ouster campaign against Manipur Chief Minister Okram Ibobi Singh has intensified, with two Ministers, Yumkham Erabot and D.D. Thaisi, deciding to resign. They are signatories to a memorandum sent to the Prime Minister and the Congress president Sonia Gandhi, demanding a leadership change.

Mr. Ibobi Singh, who called on Prime Minister Manmohon Singh on Monday evening returned here. So far, the dissidents have not met Mr. Singh and Ms. Gandhi. A dissident said they expected some more MLAs to join them.

Indications are that the ouster campaign may be discussed at the Congress Working Committee meeting.

Situation explained

Mr. Ibobi Singh reportedly explained the political situation to the Prime Minister. Admitting that the law and order situation in Manipur was disturbing, he told Dr. Singh of the measures his government had taken to contain militancy.

Mr. Ibobi also referred to the recent arrest of 14 militants from the residences of some MLAs and a former legislator. These MLAs were now in the dissidents’ camp.

One proscribed underground organisation clarified that eight youths arrested from a MLA’s residence were not their cadres. As two guns were recovered, the eight were detained under the National Security Act.

A dissident mentioned Thoudam Debendra, Yumkham Erabot and Gaikhangam as likely candidates for the new leadership. He said they would not return to Imphal until Mr. Ibobi is removed. He, however, declined to say what they would do if they were not allowed to meet the central leadership or told that Mr. Ibobi would stay.