Biren Singh-led coalition government in troubled waters as three BJP MLAs resign, NPP withdraws support

With the nine MLAs in their favour, O Ibobi Singh, who is also the leader of the Congress Legislature Party (CLP), said the Congress government is hoping to form the new government in the state.

The BJP-led coalition government of Manipur is in trouble waters after three BJP MLAs resigned from the party to join Congress and six MLAs withdrew their support.

The three MLAs who resigned from BJP were Henglep MLA TT Haokip, Naoriya Pakhanglakpa MLA S Subaschandra Singh and Tamenglong MLA Samuel Jendai.

“I have tendered my resignation from the party with my own volition. No one compelled me or threatened me to do so. As such from today I have become Congress member”, said TT Haokip, flanked by two fellow MLAs who joined the Congress on Wednesday. When asked why they have left, Haokip declined to further comment.

Those who withdrew their supports are the four National People’s Party, one of the major coalition partners of the N Biren Singh government which had four MLAs, including three ministers, and one Trinamool MLA and an independent MLA from Jiribam.

Y Joykumar Singh of the NPP, who made the formal announcement said, “As you all know that the political development in the past three to four months and the way this government has treated our party and our Ministers including me. We have deliberated in details about what will be the best thing for us and the party keeping in view Assembly election to be held in 2022. So, we have decided to withdraw our support to this government”. Joykumar was accompanied by Thangminlen Kipgen, president of NPP when the announcement was made somewhere in Imphal West district. Joykumar who was a Minister holding key posts in the coalition government was stripped of all portfolios just recently.

Joykumar said his party had formally intimated to the government about their withdrawal of support.

“We have withdrawn our support and ended the ties with the BJP government. We have resigned from our post as a minister under the government and all necessary paper works have been submitted to the chief minister’s office “, said Joykumar.

He added that NPP will explore the possibilities of forming a new government with the Congress party after moving a no-confidence motion against the existing government.

The last election held in 2017 saw a hung verdict with the Congress emerging as the single largest party with 28 MLAs and the BJP had 21 seats. Interestingly, Manipur Governor, Najma Heptulla, invited BJP to stake claim to form the next government. As such, BJP managed to form the Government with 33 MLAs including four MLAs each from the Naga Peoples Front (NPF) and NPP, one Lokjanshakti Party, Trinamool Congress and an Independent candidate won one seat each and a Congress MLA (Th. Shyamkumar) who defected to BJP even before he was sworn in as an MLA. Later, Seven more Congress MLAs joined the BJP fold cementing foothold of the N Biren Singh-led government with 39 MLAs.

While Th Shyamkumar was disqualified by the speaker’s tribunal from being an MLA under anti defection law, the seven defected Congress MLAs were also barred from entering the Assembly by High Court of Manipur. Disqualification petitions against the seven MLAs under anti-defection are also pending at the tribunal.

With three BJP MLAs joining the party, Congress has now 24 members in the Assembly even though former CM Okram Ibobi Singh claimed the effective strength of the party was now 27.

With the nine MLAs in their favour, O Ibobi Singh, who is also the leader of the Congress Legislature Party (CLP), said the Congress government is hoping to form the new government in the state.

As many coalitions partners of the BJP in Manipur have withdrawn their support, the Congress party will call on the Governor of Manipur to convene a special assembly session so that the party can prove its majority in the assembly, said the CLP leader.

First Published:June 17, 2020, 11:18 p.m.