Biren Singh was on Tuesday elected unanimously as the leader of the BJP legislature party in Manipur. He later met governor Najma Heptulla to stake claim to form the next government in the northeastern state. Incumbent chief minister Okram Ibobi Singh had already staked claim on Sunday night.
The BJP claimed it enjoyed the support of 32 MLAs in the 60-member Manipur assembly. The Congress won 28 seats in Manipur, while the BJP bagged 21 in the results announced on Saturday. The NPP and the NPF won four seats each, with the LJP and the Trinamool Congress securing one seat each.
Here are the top 5 developments in Manipur power play
BJP gets a leader
Ending two days of speculations and closed-door meetings, Nongthombam Biren Singh was elected leader of Bharatiya Janata Party’s legislature party on Monday evening. A former minister in the Congress government-led by Okram Ibobi Singh, the 56-year-old will be the first BJP chief minister in the northeastern state if the party forms the next government.
Biren was elected after a four-hour-long meeting of BJP’s 21 newly elected MLAs in the presence of senior leaders Piyush Goyal, Prakash Javadekar and Vinay Sahasrabuddhe, who reached Imphal on Monday. “It is a great challenge (for me). I left Congress because of mis-governance. The BJP has to give (good) governance to the people of Manipur who have given a mandate for change,” Biren said.
Three-time CM Singh resigned on Monday after being prodded by governor Najma Heptullah, who said she could not start the process of government formation till he stepped down. Singh submitted his resignation letter to Heptullah, deputy chief minister Gaikhangam told PTI. Ibobi, who had been serving as the CM for 15 years since 2002, was again elected the leader of the Congress Legislature Party. He argued that with the Congress emerging as the single largest party, he should be given the first opportunity to form the government.
Who’s with whom
In his meeting with Heptullah on Sunday night, Singh claimed to have the support of four National People’s Party MLAs. “On seeing names of four NPP MLAs on an ordinary piece of paper, Heptullah asked Ibobi Singh to bring the NPP president and the MLAs,” a Raj Bhavan source said. NPP general secretary Vivek Raj, however, said that the party and all its MLAs were with BJP.
Raj Bhavan in spotlight
All eyes are now on the Raj Bhawan to see which side --— the BJP-led coalition or the Congress --- would get the invitation to form the next government. It is expected the governor would invite one of the two parties, most probably on Tuesday, and ask it to form the next government.
Ibobi stressed on Monday that none of their 28 MLAs have switched sides to the BJP camp after reports indicated cracks in the Congress camp. The BJP claimed to have support of Shyamkumar, one of the 28 Congress MLAs, the lone MLAs of both LJP and All India Trinamool Congress, besides four MLAs each of NPP and NPF. Outgoing deputy CM, Gaikhangam too, however, described as “completely baseless” reports that Congress MLAs were in touch with the BJP.
In a separate development, the NPF denied rumours that the party’s state unit had put forth pre-conditions before joining the BJP-led coalition. The party with 4 MLAs had made it clear on Saturday it would support any non-Congress government in Manipur. There were speculations in Imphal on Monday that its legislators could move to Congress side.