After high drama, BJP retains power in Manipur

Manipur chief minister N Biren Singh
Manipur Chief Minister N Biren Singh

After eight days of high-end drama, BJP is all set to retain power in Manipur. On June 24 night, North East Democratic Alliance (NEDA) convener Himanta Biswa Sarma made the official announcement of it.

On June 17, nine MLAs including three from BJP and four from National People’s Party (NPP), one Trinamool Congress and one Independent had withdrawn their support to the BJP-led coalition government pushing them to minority.

BJP, however, managed to win the lone Rajya Sabha seat on June 18 in yet another dramatic way. BJP candidate Leisemba Sanajaoba — Manipur’s royal scion – won by four votes, by getting 28 votes against Congress candidate T Mangibabu.

Then after a series of meetings in Imphal and New Delhi with NPP chief Conrad Sangma and the rebel MLAs, Sarma announced that the BJP will continue to be in power.

The NPP MLAs, along with Sarma and Conrad, also met senior BJP leaders Amit Shah and JP Nadda in New Delhi.

“NPP will continue to support the BJP government in Manipur for the development of Manipur,” Sarma said.

Meghalaya chief minister and NPP supreme Conrad Sangma also termed their meeting with Amit Shah and Nadda as positive.

“We have decided to continue to work together in the interest of people of Manipur,” Sangma said after the meeting.

Earlier, Sangma, however, had mentioned of having some issues with the BJP leadership in Manipur.

Just after the resignation of the MLAs, former Manipur CM and senior Congress leader Okram Ibobi Singh formed a new platform – Secular Progressive Front (SPF) with NPP and Trinamool and also met the governor staking a claim to form the government. But that didn’t materialize with BJP managing to win the trust of the rebel NPP MLAs.

In 2017 assembly elections, the Congress had won 28 seats and the BJP had won 21 in the 60-seat assembly. The BJP, however, managed to form the government with the support of four NPP MLAs, four from the NPF, a lone member of the Trinamool Congress, one MLA of Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) and an Independent member.

The BJP also enjoyed the support of seven Congress MLAs, who are still members of the party but a case of their disqualification is pending in court. They cannot vote until the verdict is pronounced. The Manipur High Court restrained them from entering the assembly last week.

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