In yet another jolt for the opposition Congress in Manipur, six party MLAs have resigned from the Assembly and the Speaker has accepted five of the six resignation letters, officials said on Tuesday night.
The six legislators are among the eight Congress MLAs who defied the party whip on Monday and skipped the crucial one-day session of the House, in which the BJP-led coalition government comfortably won the confidence motion moved by Chief Minister N. Biren Singh.
The six MLAs — Okram Henry Singh, Oinam Lukhoi, Md Abdul Nasir, Paonam Brojen, Ngamthang Haokip and Ginsuanhau — had submitted their resignations to Speaker Yumnam Khemchand Singh, who accepted the resignations of all except Paonam Brojen, against whom disqualification petition has been pending.
Manipur assembly secretary M. Ramani Devi issued a notification saying that the Speaker accepted the resignation letters of five MLAs and the “Speaker’s order” on the disqualification petition against Brojen would be issued on August 14.
“The assembly constituencies of the five MLAs would be vacant with immediate effect,” the notification said.
The disgruntled MLAs told the media that they have no trust in Congress Legislative Party leader O. Ibobi Singh, a three-time former Chief Minister.
“Due to him (Ibobi Singh), the Congress failed to form the government in Manipur despite emerging as the single largest party in the 2017 Assembly elections,” Okram Henry Singh told the media.
He said the six MLAs would also quit the party (Congress) membership soon.
The 60-member Manipur assembly has an effective strength of 53, including the Speaker. Four MLAs were disqualified earlier while three from the BJP had resigned in June.
The BJP-led Manipur government on Monday won the trust vote 28-16 in the Assembly following a hectic day-long debate after Chief Minister had moved a confidence motion.
The Manipur government had plunged into a serious political crisis on June 17 after the four-member National People’s Party (NPP), the sole Trinamool Congress MLA, and an Independent MLA withdrew their support while three BJP MLAs quit the party and joined the Congress.
The nine-day-long political crisis ended with the intervention of Union Home Minister Amit Shah, BJP national President J.P. Nadda, Meghalaya Chief Minister and NPP national President Conrad K. Sangma and Assam Minister and North East Democratic Alliance (NEDA) convenor Himanta Biswa Sarma.
In the 2017 Assembly elections, the Congress had emerged as the single largest party securing 28 seats, but the Bharatiya Janata Party, which bagged 21 seats, stitched a coalition government with the support of four NPP MLAs, four Naga People’s Front members, the lone TMC MLA and an Independent member.
Seven Congress MLAs also joined the BJP subsequently. Demanding the disqualification of the seven MLAs, the Congress had in January this year filed a petition in the Supreme Court, which had asked the Speaker to take appropriate steps.