BJP govt faces crucial test today
Khemchand BJP candidate for Speaker’s post, Congress puts up former minister Govindas
IMPHAL | Mar 19
The BJP led government headed by Nongthombam Biren Singh is facing a crucial trial of strength in the Manipur assembly tomorrow after election of the new Speaker.
After the swearing in of all the 60 members, Chief Minister Nongthombam Biren Singh today expressed confidence that the BJP led alliance would prove majority on the floor of the House tomorrow.
Pro tem Speaker V. Hangkhalian administered the oath of office to the newly elected members in the Assembly today.
Earlier, the governor Najma Heptulla had sworn in the senior BJP MLA as the pro tem speaker.
“We have the majority. We will show it tomorrow. There is nothing to be worried about,” Chief Minister Biren told reporters after taking oath as an MLA.
The 19 BJP members who had camped in a hotel in Guwahati arrived here this morning to attend the swearing in.
In the meantime, BJP has fielded Singjamei MLA Yumnam Khemchand Singh as a candidate for the post of Speaker, election of which will be held tomorrow.
Meanwhile, the Congress party has fielded former minister Govindas Konthoujam to contest against Khemchand, a first timer.
“We will elect Khemchand as the Speaker. This will show that we have the strength and vote of confidence will not be a problem,” Prahlad Singh Patel, BJP’s Manipur in-charge said.
He was present at the visitors’ gallery of the Assembly along with state unit president K Bhabananda Singh during the MLAs swearing in.
The BJP is now claiming strength of 33 in a 60 member House. The break up is BJP 21, NPP 4, NPF 4, one each from LJP, Trinamool Congress, Congress and one Independent.
The Congress which secured 28 seats has now only 27 seats after Th Shyamkumar Singh joined the BJP led alliance before even taking oath as an MLA.
Shyamkumar was one of the eight cabinet ministers who were sworn in on Wednesday along with Biren.
The Manipur Pradesh Congress Committee had served a show cause notice to Shyamkumar Singh.
After the election of the Speaker the governor will address the House.
The chief minister and all the other ruling MLAs met at an Imphal hotel in the evening to discuss strategy and floor coordination.
“We were only discussing about tomorrow and how to go about the trial of strength. It is a normal meeting and nothing special about it,” a senior BJP member said.
The meeting appointed BJP MLA Sapam Ranjan as the convener of the coalition and NPP MLA K Leishiyo as the co-convener.
BJP general secretary Ram Madhav and Assam finance minister Himanta Biswa were also present during the meeting.
After the meeting all the 33 members stayed together at a hotel to ensure that none of them leaves the group before tomorrow’s election of Speaker and trial of strength.
The BJP led group is yet to finalise the name of the coalition. Sources said, some BJP leaders were proposing Manipur Democratic Alliance on the lines of National Democratic Alliance.
Chief Minister Biren said, the name of the coalition would be decided later.
All the 27 Congress members are also staying together at the residence of a party MLA in Imphal.