Manipur CM Ibobi Singh resigns as both BJP, Congress claim majority
Governor Najma Heptulla is yet to invite any party for government formation, which can be done only after the incumbent chief minister resigns.
Amid tussle between the BJP and the Congress to form the next government in Manipur after a hung verdict in the assembly election, incumbent chief minister Okram Ibobi Singh met governor Najma Heptulla and submitted his resignation.
“Since we are the single-largest party with 28 seats, we should be invited by the governor first. If needed, we will prove majority with a floor test in the House,” said Singh, who was elected Congress legislature party leader.
The development came hours after governor Najma Heptulla asked him to resign immediately.
“Ibobi Singh, along with deputy chief minister Gaikhamgam and state Congress president TN Haokip, had met the governor last night (Sunday night). The governor had asked Singh to resign immediately so that she can start the process of government formation,” a highly placed source in the governor’s house said.
Singh had shown Heptulla a list of 28 MLAs of Congress - which fell three seats short of majority in the recently concluded elections -- and claimed the support of four legislators of National People’s Party (NPP).
“On seeing the names of the four NPP MLAs on an ordinary piece of paper, Heptullah asked Ibobi Singh to bring the NPP president and the MLAs,” the source said.
Rejecting speculations about over possibility of over a dozen Congress MLAs moving to the saffron camp, the outgoing chief minister said all their legislators were still with the party.
But Congress MLA from Andro, T Shyam Kumar, who has reportedly joined the BJP side, wasn’t present at Ibobi’s meeting.
Hours before Singh’s meeting, BJP leaders had approached the governor with a list of 32 MLAs, which included its 21 legislators, four each from Naga People’s Front and NPP, and the lone MLAs of LJP and Trinamool Congress.
BJP also submitted a letter from the Naga People’s Front (NPF) president regarding their support to the BJP to form the government, the source said.
The 76-year-old governor, who has served as deputy chairperson of Rajya Sabha when in Congress and as minister of minority affairs in the BJP’s Narendra Modi government, is yet to invite any party for government formation.
The BJP MLAs met on Monday and elected N Biren Singh as its legislature party leader, said Union minister Piyush Goel. Biren Singh will soon meet governor to stake claim for forming government, he said.
All the 21 MLAs of the BJP are busy meeting with party’s senior leaders Prakash Javadekar, Piyush Goyal and Vinay Sahasrabudhe who flew in to Imphal on Monday afternoon.
Outgoing deputy chief minister Gaikhangam Gangmei said the Congress, being the single largest party, must be allowed first to form the government. He also dismissed as “completely baseless” the reports that several Congress legislators, including Shyam Kumar, were in touch with the BJP and expressed a desire to support a BJP government.
“The entire Congress is united and stand firmly behind Ibobi Singh. These reports of defection in the Congress are absolutely baseless and have been planted by the BJP to create confusion,” he said.
Vivekraj Wangkhem of the NPP maintained his party is supporting the BJP to form government.
“Our party and elected members have extended support to the BJP in the formation of the ministry,” he said.
Wangkhem also said that the party’s earlier written assurance to the Congress is invalidated.
(With inputs from Agencies)