Other States

After NPP’s return, Manipur BJP under pressure from other ally, defectors

Manipur CM N. Biren Singh. File photo: Sandeep Saxena

Manipur CM N. Biren Singh. File photo: Sandeep Saxena   | Photo Credit: Sandeep Saxena

Unhappy BJP legislators may fly to Delhi for their ‘due’ from party’s central leadership

The return of four National People’s Party (NPP) MLAs to the coalition government in Manipur was expected to have settled the political crisis for the BJP.

Instead, it appears to have triggered the start of another crisis for Chief Minister Nongthombam Biren – resentment of another regional ally, the defectors from Congress and some of his own party MLAs.

The Chief Minister, however, claimed on Friday that the political storm was over.

Fresh trouble for Mr. Biren began after Assam Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma, also the BJP’s troubleshooter in the region as convener of the North East Democratic Alliance (NEDA), promised four ministerial berths to the NPP. They would not be required to take oath of office as their resignations from the Council of Ministers had not been approved.

The assurance was given after former Deputy Chief Minister Y. Joykumar and three other NPP legislators submitted a letter to Governor Najma Heptulla on June 25, expressing their renewed support to the BJP-led coalition. Mr. Sarma and Meghalaya Chief Minister and NPP national president Conrad K. Sangma had accompanied the four.

The NEDA is a BJP-helmed forum of smaller parties in the Northeast that traditionally had the Congress as its main political rival.

BJP lawmakers angry

The assurance to accommodate all the four NPP legislators as Ministers angered the BJP lawmakers who had been camping at a luxury hotel in Imphal since the political crisis began.

Mr. Biren, party insiders said, tried to pacify the agitated BJP lawmakers as well as those who had defected from the Congress. These MLAs were unhappy with the “interference” of NEDA and others in Manipur politics.

The Naga People’s Front (NPF) too demanded one more berth and threatened to leave the alliance if ignored. Like the NPP, the NPF has four MLAs but only two Ministers.

In a House of 60, Manipur can have a maximum of 12 Ministers, including the Chief Minister.

“Our party MLAs, who are feeling left out, are likely to fly to Delhi and meet the central leadership for justice,” a BJP leader said, declining to be quoted.

Biren for Delhi

The Chief Minister, too, said he might leave for Delhi. “I am yet to have a word from our central leaders on the allotment of portfolios,” he added.

The BJP won 21 seats in the 2017 Assembly elections but has 18 now after three resigned to trigger the crisis along with the four NPP and two other MLAs.

Meanwhile, Congress MLA and party spokesperson Khumukcham Joykishan said the NPP and disgruntled BJP legislators took the people of Manipur for a ride for possibly personal gains. “Those who deceive the people for political mileage should know their days are numbered,” he added.

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Printable version | Jul 12, 2020 1:12:53 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/return-of-npp-mlas-triggers-fresh-crisis-for-bjp-in-manipur/article31921302.ece

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