All eyes on Manipur Governor as Cong, NPP demand floor test

Imphal, June 18: The opposition Congress along with the National People’s Party (NPP) in Manipur on Thursday urged Governor Najma Heptulla, to call a special Assembly session for taking up a no-confidence motion against the N Biren Singh-led government.

Former Chief Minister Okram Ibobi Singh informed the Governor that a Secular Progressive Front (SPF) comprising of 20 Congress members, four NPP, one Trinamool Congress and one Independent member has been formed to lead the new government in the State.

“We informed the Governor that the present N Biren Singh-led government is now in minority and hence a floor test should be done at the earliest,” Ibobi said, adding that the delegation has urged Heptulla to summon the sitting of the House in a couple of days.

The Governor is yet to take a call on the demand of the newly formed SPF.

With the resignation of three BJP legislators, Samuel Jendai, T.T. Haokip and Soibam Subashchandra, the BJP has reduced its strength to 18 but still enjoys the support of four Naga People’s Front which has four members and lone Lok Janshakti Party MLA in the 60-member Manipur Assembly whose effective strength is 59.

One seat is lying vacant after Th Shyamkumar was disqualified for defecting from the Congress to the BJP under the provision of the Tenth Schedule.

Earlier, the Congress legislator K Meghachandra served a notice for the removal of Speaker Y Khemchand after the latter preponed the proceedings regarding the disqualification of seven Congress legislators to June 18 from June 22 without reasonable cause or explanation.

However, Manipur High Court Justice Kh Nobin Singh directed the Speaker not to pronounce his judgment on the pending disqualification cases of seven Congress legislators, who had defected over to the BJP earlier, till Friday.

“The speaker has conducted himself in an authoritarian manner which is opposed to well established practice and procedures of the House”, Meghachandra alleged in his removal notice to the Secretary of the Manipur Legislative Assembly under Article 179 (c) of the Constitution.

The notice was signed by ten members, including former Deputy Chief Minister Y Joykumar Singh of the NPP.

The High Court order is significant in view of the election for the lone Rajya Sabha seat from Manipur is scheduled to be held on June 19 at the premises of Manipur Assembly.

The ruling BJP has fielded Maharaj Leishemba, the titular King of Manipur, against Congress candidate T Mangibabu for the Rajya Sabha polls.

In its earlier order, the Manipur High Court has restricted the seven Congress MLAs from entering the State assembly till the pronouncement of the order by the Speaker.

Former Health and Family Welfare Minister and NPP legislator, L Jayantakumar on Thursday declared that the party will vote for the Congress nominee in the Rajya Sabha MP election on Friday.

“Our stand is final and there is no room for negotiation, retreat or surrender,” the NPP legislator said reaffirming NPP’s support to the SPF.

The Manipur Assembly elections in 2017 witnessed a hung assembly, with the Congress emerging as the single largest party with 28 legislators in the house of 60. The BJP won in 21 seats.

The NPP and the NPF bagged four seats each. The Lok Janshakti Party, Trinamool Congress and an Independent candidate won one seat each.

The BJP formed the government for the first-time with the support of non-Congress parties besides Congress legislator, Th Shyamkumar Singh who defected to BJP.