Manipur 2017

BJP set to form govt. in Manipur

BJP supporters at a 'victory rally' in Imphal on Saturday.

BJP supporters at a 'victory rally' in Imphal on Saturday.

In a thrilling and controversial finale to the Assembly elections in Manipur, the BJP is all set to form the government in the State with the support of three regional parties — Naga People’s Front (NPF) National Peoples Party (NPP) and the Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) — and the support of another MLA, whose name the party has kept under wraps.

BJP leaders along with representatives of the regional parties met Governor Najma Heptulla late on Sunday evening, giving her a list of 31 MLAs, and staking claim to form the government in the 60-member Assembly.

The day began with the alleged dramatic abduction of Independent MLA Ashad Uddin, who the Congress said was on their side. The evening was no less dramatic as important Congress MLA Congress T. Shyamkumar, elected from Andro, surprised everyone by visiting the Raj Bhawan with BJP leader Himanta Biswa Sarma and offering a letter of support to the BJP led combine.

Further weakening the Congress camp, T. Robindro Singh from the Trinamool Congress whom the Congress was counting on their side, also moved to the BJP camp.

“We have the support of 31 members required to form the government. The letter from the 31st MLA will reach the Governor soon,” BJP general secretary Ram Madhav said at a press conference where the representatives of the regional parties were also present. He refused to disclose the name of the 31st MLA. The tally announced by the BJP with its 21 MLAs, and the NPP and the NPF with four each and one from the LJP, adds up to 30.

According to the Congress leadership, Mr. Uddin, 55, an Independent who won from Jiribam, had assured the Congress of his support. However, when he reached the Imphal airport, with another Congress leader Abdul Nasir, he was taken away by BJP leaders, it alleged. “ At the behest of the BJP, Independent candidate Asab Uddin... has been detained by the CISF and flown to an unknown location,” Senior Congress leader C.P. Joshi, who is in Manipur, said on social media.

Supporters of the Congress and the BJP had gathered outside the airport for hours. According to reports, Mr. Uddin was taken away in a private chartered flight.

As soon as the reports of Mr. Uddin having gone missing emerged, the mood at the Congress Legislature Party meeting at the party headquarters turned sombre. Okram Ibobi Singh, the Chief Minister since 2002, who was unanimously elected leader of the Congress legislature Party, evaded questions from the media on government formation. Congress leaders insisted that the party had the number. But with the Independent MLA gone, the Congress’s tally can reach to 29 seats. With the defection of Mr. Shyamkumar, the number of Congress MLAs will come down to 27 from 28.

BJP general secretary Ram Madhav, along with Assam Minister and BJP leader of the region Himata Biswa Sarma, said the party would decide on its chief ministerial candidate at a meeting on Monday, in presence of central observers. According to sources in the party, the two top contenders are N. Biren Singh, who was elected from Heingang, and T. Biswajit Singh from Thongju.

Mr. Madhav said the allies had come to the BJP as “they are all birds of same feather and the vote in Manipur has been against the Congress.” Conrad K Sangma, the son of former Speaker P.A. Sangma and NPP president, said it was natural for him to ally with the BJP. “Manipur needs a change and we should be part of it, We will work together on a common minimum plan,” he said.

LJP MLA Karam Shyam said party leader Ram Vilas Paswan had asked him to ally with the BJP.

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Printable version | May 28, 2022 6:49:17 pm |