IMPHAL: The three-year old BJP-led coalition government in Manipur headed by Chief Minister N. Biren Singh was on Wednesday night pushed into a political crisis as three of its MLAs quit the party and joined the Congress and six legislators from other parties withdrew support.
After the latest political development, the strength of the Bharatiya Janata Party-led alliance government has been reduced to a minority in the 60-member Assembly, effective strength of which is 59 after Shyamkumar Singh of Andro Assembly constituency, who had defected to the BJP from Congress, was disqualified.
Led by Deputy Chief Minister Y. Joykumar, the four MLAs, all cabinet ministers, belonging to the National People’s Party (NPP), the lone Trinamool Congress member T. Robindro Singh and Shahabuddin, an independent MLA from Jiribam, withdrew their support from the BJP-led government, which has been facing political trouble since January this year.
The BJP MLAs, who resigned from the party and joined the Congress, are S. Subhashchandra Singh, T.T. Haokip and Samuel Jendai. Besides Deputy Chief Minister Y. JoyKumar Singh, who holds the finance portfolio, the other three ministers resigned are Health and Family Welfare Minister L. Jayanta Kumar Singh, Tribal and Hills Area Development Minister N. Kayishii, and Youth Affairs and Sports Minister Letpao Haokip.
While talking to the media, Joykumar Singh said : “We have submitted our official resignation letters to the Chief Minister tonight.”
The Congress in Manipur has also decided to meet Governor Najma Heptulla with a demand to convene a special session of the state Assembly for holding a trust vote.
“The beginning of downfall of BJP rule in India happens today (Wednesday) from Manipur. Very soon, there will be a true people’s government in Manipur led by the Congress,” Manipur Congress spokesperson Ningombam Bupenda Meitei told IANS.
He said: “I am confident that three-time Chief Minister Okram Ibobi Singh will become the new Chief Minister of Manipur. Today (Wednesday) is the new beginning of India. Today is the new sunrise for Manipur.”
Talking to the media, state Industry and Commerce Minister Biswajit Singh, however, claimed that there is no threat to the N. Biren Singh-led government.
With three BJP MLAs joining the Congress, the latter now has 24 members in the Assembly even though former Chief Minister Okram Ibobi Singh claimed the effective strength of the party was now 27.
Manipur’s Assembly elections in 2017 had yielded a hung verdict, with the Congress emerging as the single largest party with 28 MLAs in the house of 60. The BJP had 21 MLAs. The seven Congress MLAs had joined the BJP as it was short of 10 MLAs to form the government in the 60-member house after the 2017 Assembly polls.
The Manipur High Court had on June 8 ordered restraining seven Congress MLAs, who in 2017 joined the BJP, from entering the state Assembly till the Speaker’s tribunal heard their disqualification case.
Amid the political turmoil, the elections for the lone Rajya Sabha seat in Manipur will be held on June 19.
The BJP had formed the government in the state with the support of rebel Congress MLAs, apart from the National People’s Party (NPP), headed by Meghalaya Chief Minister Conrad K. Sangma, and the Naga People’s Front.