OTHERS

Manipur Speaker denies charge

IMPHAL, MAY 20. The Manipur Speaker, Mr. Sapam Dhananjoy, has denied the charge that he has been indulging in ministry-making by organising a camp of pro-changers to topple the present Government.

Speaking to reporters here today, he said as there was an attempt to remove him from the post, he had allowed 40 MLAs to camp at his residence.

He said security measures had been tightened for tomorrow's Assembly session.

The Agriculture Minister, Mr. Thangminlien Kipgen, will not be able to participate in the vote of confidence, sought by the Chief Minister, Mr. Radhabinod Koijam tomorrow, according to a notification.

The notification said Mr. Kipgen had been debarred from voting as his membership in the House had been annulled by the Speaker on November 11 last year.

Meanwhile, the announcement by the BJP president, Mr. Jana Krishnamurthy, that the BJP will vote for the Samata Party- led People's Front came as a dampener for those seeking change of government.

It is said that if the BJP leadership did not give them a free hand, they may form a separate group to stake their claim to form an alternative government.

`Clarify stand'

PTI reports:

The Manipur Chief Minister, Mr. Radhabinod Koijam, today said the BJP should spell out its stand on the issue of support to his People's Front ministry during the vote of confidence tomorrow and alleged that the BJP MLAs were kept under lock and key in the Speaker's bunglow.

Mr. Koijam said the central BJP leadership had said it would support his ministry while the party was yet to issue whip to its 26 members.

Meanwhile, the Speaker said seat arrangements in the House had been completed. He said four members of the Manipur State Congress Party (MSCP) - Mr. H. Lokhon Singh, Mr. K. Govindas, Mr. L Jatra Singh and Mr. V. Hangkhalian - wanted to sit separately from the other MSCP members. They would be allotted different seats, he said adding that the BJP would also have separate seats.

The present strength of the House, he said, was: BJP 26, Samata Party 13, MSCP 11, Federal Party of Manipur 2, Nationalist Congress Party 2, the Manipur People's Party 1, Congress 1, Janata Dal (Secular) 1 and Independent member 1.