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Ibobi-led SPF urges Gov to hold floor test

Ibobi-led SPF urges Gov to hold floor test
N. Biren Singh (File) and O. Ibobi Singh (File)
Correspondent/Agencies IMPHAL, JUN 18 | Publish Date: 6/18/2020 1:31:32 PM IST

The fast-paced political development in Manipur has overtaken the attention of the recent Indo-China border scrimmage as the newly-formed  Secular Progressive Front (SPF) led by Congress has gone all out to oust the Biren Singh-led BJP government. The Congress stepped up efforts on Thursday and urged Governor Najma Heptulla to convene a special assembly session for taking up a no-confidence motion.

A delegation of the newly-formed Secular Progressive Front (SPF) led by the Congress met the governor and requested her to call the special assembly session “at the shortest possible time”.

After submitting a letter to the governor, chief of the National People’s Party (NPP) Thangmilen Kipgen told reporters that they also requested her to invite the newly-formed SPF under the leadership of Congress leader O Ibobi Singh to form the new government in the state. 

The memorandum mentioned that letters of support from all members of the SPF, including Congress, NPP, All India Trinamool Congress and Independent MLAs have been enclosed for the governor’s perusal. So far there is no word from the Raj Bhavan on the issue.

In addition to the four NPP ministers, including former deputy CM Y Joykumar Singh, three BJP MLAs (resigned on June 17), lone AITC legislator and an Independent had withdrawn support on Wednesday.

According to a bulletin issued by M Ramani Devi, Secretary of the Assembly, the Speaker has accepted the resignation of the three BJP MLAs-- T Thangzalam Haokip, Soibam Subhaschandra Singh and Samuel Jendai Kamamei-- from membership of the assembly. With this the effective strength of the house has been reduced to 49. Earlier, 7 Congress MLAs who had defected to BJP were barred from attending the house as per the High Court order while another Congress MLA who had joined the BJP and became a minister was disqualified by the Supreme Court on March 18, 2020.

The newly formed Secular Progressive Front (SPF) now has 26 MLAs comprising of- Congress 20, NPP-4, TMC-1 and Independent-1. On the other hand the BJP-coalition has a total of 23 MLAs-18 BJP (including speaker), NPF-4 and LJP-1.

Meanwhile, four of the seven Congress MLAs facing disqualification after they had defected to BJP reportedly returned to the parent organization on Thursday.

What could happen in the next few says is a possibility that if the BJP cannot retrieve power, then the assembly could be placed under suspended animation and president’s rule imposed to enable the BJP to buy time.

While Congress-led SPF has confidently staked claim to form the next Manipur government, sources close to chief minister Biren Singh have informed that many Congress MLAs are in touch with the BJP. Congress has refuted this news, stating all its MLAs support it. Amid this major political upheaval, Manipur’s lone Rajya Sabha seat is to go to polls on Friday.

On June 19, election to the lone Rajya Sabha seat is scheduled and if it goes as per the current strength of the respective coalitions, the SPF is a clear winner. The BJP has fielded Manipur’s titular king Leishemba Sanajaoba while the Congress has fielded veteran T Mangi Babu for the Rajya Sabha election.

Thus, in Manipur while the Congress-led SPF may have the numbers, the BJP-led coalition has the advantage.

HC intervenes, asks Speaker to abide by court directives

Seven Congress MLAs, who had crossed over to the BJP, are facing anti-defection cases under the Tenth Schedule of the Constitution in the Speaker’s tribunal as well as in the High Court of Manipur.

The Speaker’s tribunal, which had earlier said that it would hear the disqualification cases of the seven Congress MLAs on June 22 advanced it and heard the matter during the day.

But, the high court directed the Speaker not to pronounce any order on the pending disqualification cases of defector Congress MLAs till Friday. The court order said, “it is clear that the order/judgement reserved today by the Hon’ble Speaker, shall not be pronounced by him till tomorrow (June 19).”

The Congress during the day expressed its anger against Speaker Y Khemchandra Singh by serving a notice for his removal.

 

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