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Manipur: Congress stakes claim to form govt, wants Assembly Speaker removed


The Congress has staked claim to form government in Manipur. Congress leader Okram Ibobi Singh met Governor Najma Heptullah seeking vote on no-confidence motion against the BJP-led government.

Congress leader Okram Ibobi Singh met Manipur Governor Najma Heptullah on Thursday to stake claim to form government in the state following resignation of three BJP MLAs and withdrawal of support to N Biren Singh government by six others.

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Okram Ibobi Singh of Congress stakes claim to form government in Manipur
  • Ibobi Singh met Governor Najma Heptulla to hand over letter of support from allies
  • Congress also moved notice for removal of Assembly Speaker

The Congress on Thursday staked claim to form the government in Manipur a day after nine MLAs withdrew support to the BJP-led coalition government of N Biren Singh.

Senior Congress leader and former Chief Miniser Okaram Ibobi Singh met Governor Najma Heptullah seeking special session of Manipur Assembly to vote on a no-confidence motion against the Biren Singh government.

Ibobi Singh handed over letter of support from the TMC, NPP and Independent MLAs. These parties have formed a new coalition, the Secular Progressive Front (SPF).

In a related development, 12 Congress MLAs have given a notice to the secretary of the Manipur Legislative Assembly for removal of Speaker Yumnam Khemchand. The notice challenged Speaker Khemchand’s decision to advance the date for deciding disqualification of seven Congress MLAs to June 18 from previously fixed date of June 22.

This relates to disqualification of seven Congress MLAs who had pledged support to the BJP-led government while staying as the Congress members. The Manipur High Court had last week banned their entry into the Vidhan Sabha until disqualification matter is decided by the Speaker.

Congress leader Meghchandra Singh, who submitted the notice, cited Article 179 (C) of the Constitution to assert that Speaker Khemchand can no longer decide the disqualification matter. Singh said till removal is pending, the Speaker is powerless in disqualifying MLAs.

The fresh turn of events in Manipur follows resignations by three BJP MLAs and withdrawal of support by six MLAs including all four ministers of the Nationalist People’s Party (NPP).

The resignations and withdrawal of support to the Biren Singh government has threatened its stability and also damaged the BJP’s prospect of retaining the Rajya Sabha seat. Manipur has one Rajya Sabha seat for which voting will take place on Friday.

On the other hand, the Congress sounded confidence to win the Rajya Sabha seat and also topple the BJP from power in Manipur, where it had lost the chance to form government in 2017 despite emerging as the single-largest party in the state polls.

The BJP has fielded Manipur’s titular king Leishemba Sanajaoba while the Congress depends on veteran T Mangi Babu in the Rajya Sabha election.

In a truncated Manipur Assembly, where only 49 MLAs can vote in the present situation, the Congress claims to have support of 26 MLAs and the BJP has assured support of 23 legislators.

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