Manipur Assembly polls | Biren Singh rules out alliance with NPP

BJP will ally with likeminded parties even if it wins majority, he says

March 10, 2022 08:17 pm | Updated 08:17 pm IST - IMPHAL

Chief Minister N. Biren Singh gestures after party’s victory in Assembly polls, outside of his residence, in Imphal on March 10, 2022.

Chief Minister N. Biren Singh gestures after party’s victory in Assembly polls, outside of his residence, in Imphal on March 10, 2022. | Photo Credit: PTI

Manipur Chief Minister Nongthombam Biren Singh ruled out any alliance with the National People’s Party (NPP) headed by his Meghalaya counterpart Conrad K. Sangma but said he was open to tying up with like–minded parties even if the Bharatiya Janata Party wins majority.

The BJP had won 25 seats and was leading in seven more at the time of reporting. The majority mark in the 60-member House is 31.

Mr. Singh said he was hopeful of the BJP winning more than 40 seats but the focus was getting more than 30 seats to be in a position to form a government on its own.

“We will maintain the coalition dharma as desired by our central leadership. We will go along with like–minded parties but I don’t think the NPP will be part of the government,” he told journalists after he was declared winner from his pet Heingang seat.

By like–minded parties, he indicated the Naga People’s Front, an ally in the current government he heads and is also a coalition partner of the BJP in the adjoining Nagaland.

The NPP was expected not to figure in the BJP’s scheme of things after having walked out of the alliance in 2020 over the Rajya Sabha election. Of the four MLAs of the party, Letpao Haokip won the Tengnoupal seat as a BJP candidate while two others — Deputy Chief Minister Yumnam Joykumar and Health Minister L. Jayantakumar — have lost.

Mr. Singh, who began his day with a visit to a landmark temple clad in white dhoti–kurta, attributed the BJP’s victory to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s “inclusive mantra of taking everyone along”.

“We covered people all over the State, bridged the hill–valley divide and ensured peace and development. The people voted for these initiatives,” he said.

The Chief Minister refused to be drawn into the debate on who will be at the helm in the next government. “The BJP went to polls in five States without any CM face. Ours is a democratic set–up and as a party worker, I will abide by what our central leadership decides,” Mr. Singh said.

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