The quest for power has already begun in Manipur, and it is up to the National People’s Party (NPP) – which won four seats in the polls – to decide whether the BJP or the Congress should form the next government in the state.
The elections threw up a hung verdict on Saturday, sending both the political parties on a desperate hunt for allies to attain the magic figure of 31 seats in the state assembly.
The NPP, headed by former Lok Sabha speaker PA Sangma till his death last year, had fielded nine candidates in the Manipur polls. Four of them won.
“We will hold discussions with the elected MLAs and get their individual opinions before talking a call,” Conrad, NPP leader and son of the late Sangma, told mediapersons in Imphal.
Incidentally, the NPP – which has two MLAs in Meghalaya – is part of the BJP-led North East Democratic Alliance (NEDA) in the northeast. With a lone Lok Sabha MP, it is also part of the NDA government at the Centre.
The saffron party hopes that its existing connections with the NPP would help secure the latter’s support for a BJP-led coalition in Manipur.
The Naga People’s Front (NPF), which won four seats, has pledged its support to any “non-Congress coalition government in Manipur”. The BJP is already a part of the NPF-led Democratic Alliance of Nagaland government in the neighbouring state.
The NPF, also a part of NEDA, is active in the Naga-dominated hill areas of Manipur. It had fielded 14 candidates in this election.
The Lok Janshakti Party – with one MLA – has also pledged support to a BJP-led coalition, taking the saffron party’s tally to 26 seats. That’s two short of what the Congress has, and five less than the number required to secure a majority in the 60-member assembly.
Meanwhile, the Congress is making its own arrangements to retain power in the state. Okram Ibobi Singh, the incumbent chief minister, was elected as the Congress legislature party leader during a meeting of newly elected MLAs in Imphal on Sunday.