Cong stakes claim to form govt in Manipur, seeks a spl session

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Guwahati: The Congress on Thursday staked a claim for form the next government in Manipur a day after three Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) lawmakers resigned and six others withdrew their support to chief minister Biren Singh-led ruling coalition.

Chaltonlien Amo, a Congress leader, said they submitted an application to governor Najma Heptullah requesting her to convene a special assembly session for a no-confidence motion against the government.

“We want the governor to call the newly-formed Secular Progressive Front (SPF), under Okram Ibobi Singh, leader of the single largest party, the Congress, to form the government after dismissing the present ministry as it no longer commands a majority.”

Okram Ibobi Singh wrote to Heptullah, saying they have moved the no-confidence while calling for the session “at the shortest possible time” to vote on it. He wrote alternatively, “since the present ministry is in minority, it may be dismissed outright”.

He appended letters of support from other members of SPF—20 from Congress, four from National People’s Party (NPP), one Trinamool Congress (TMC), and an Independent lawmaker.

The four NPP, one TMC legislator and the Independent lawmaker withdrew support to the coalition government on Wednesday. The three BJP lawmakers, whose resignations were accepted by the Speaker, have joined the Congress.

Meanwhile, the Manipur high court on Thursday directed the assembly Speaker that orders regarding disqualification of the Congress MLAs be kept in abeyance till Friday.

NPP leader Y Joykumar Singh, a former deputy chief minister, said they will form the next government led by Congress. “The government’s handling of the Covid-19 situation and interference in ministries handled by our party’s ministers are some reason why we decided to withdraw support to the government,” he said.

The BJP formed its government for the first time in Manipur in 2017 even as the Congress emerged as the single largest party with 28 seats in the 60-member House. The BJP won 21 seats and formed the government with the support of four lawmakers each from the NPP and Naga People’s Front, one each from TMC and Lok Janshakti Party and the Independent.

The BJP’s strength has been reduced to 18 and it has the support of five more lawmakers.

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