GUWAHATI: Opposition Congress in Manipur suffered another setback as five MLAs of the party resigned from the Assembly on Tuesday.
The development comes just hours after Chief Minister N Biren Singh, who heads a BJP-led coalition government, had won the motion of confidence via voice vote on Monday evening.
Six MLAs -- Okram Henry, Oinam Lukhoi, Md Abdul Nasir, Paonam Brojen, Ngamthang Haokip and Ginsuanhau -- had submitted their resignations to Speaker Yumnam Khemchand Singh. The Speaker accepted the resignations of all barring Paonam Brojen against whom disqualification petitions were filed earlier.
In a notification, Assembly Secretary M Ramani Devi said the “judgement and order” on the disqualification petitions against Brojen would be delivered on August 14.
The six were among the eight Congress MLAs who had abstained from Monday’s voting, defying a whip issued by their party. Okram Henry is the nephew of Congress veteran and former Chief Minister Okram Ibobi Singh.
Their lack of trust in the party’s state leadership was said to be a reason behind the resignations. They are likely to join the BJP. The Congress was critical of the Speaker.
“What is the timing of the acceptance of the resignation letters by the Speaker? Can the acceptance be done by the Speaker during the session in which the whip was already issued to all Congress MLAs, many days before?” asked Congress spokesman Ningombam Bupenda Meitei.
On Monday, Ibobi Singh had alleged that the Speaker’s style of functioning was tantamount to “murder of democracy”. He had made the statement as the Speaker went for voice vote and not “division vote” which the Congress demanded.
Following the resignations of the five MLAs, the strength of the 60-member Manipur House has gone down to 48. Earlier, the Speaker had disqualified four members under the anti-defection law while three BJP MLAs resigned from the House in June.
Currently, Congress has 19 MLAs, BJP 18, National People’s Party four, Naga People’s Front four, All India Trinamool Congress one, Lok Janshakti Party one and there is an Independent.