GUWAHATI: As the BJP was reduced to a minority in Manipur, four ally NPP MLAs, who withdrew support to the saffron party-led government last week, were flown to Guwahati by Assam Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma.
The events transpired even as CBI summoned former Chief Minister Okram Ibobi Singh for questioning in an alleged Rs 332 crore misappropriation case.
“They (NPP MLAs) have been taken to Guwahati and subsequently, would be taken to Delhi,” a Minister in the state told The New Indian Express.
The BJP’s idea behind taking them to Delhi is ostensibly to mount pressure on them to return to the government. Ibobi will be grilled by sleuths of the CBI at his residence in Imphal on Wednesday.
The developments came just days after three BJP MLAs resigned from the party and the Assembly and six others – four from NPP, one from All India Trinamool Congress (AITC) and an independent MLA – withdrew their support and went to the Congress which had prompted the grand old party to stake claim and then move a no-trust motion against the three-year-old N Biren Singh government.
Earlier on Tuesday, Sarma and Meghalaya Chief Minister Conrad Sangma, who is also the NPP president, held closed door meetings with the NPP and the BJP MLAs.
After the meeting, the NPP MLAs went to the airport and flew in the flight of Sarma and Sangma. The duo had visited the state on Sunday as well for a patch up.
The NPP’s Manipur leadership was miffed with CM N Biren Singh for his alleged “autocratic” style of functioning.
As pressure was being built up on the party MLAs to return to the N Biren Singh government, the party leadership felt it would be loss of face to do that just days after ditching the government.
The state unit president Thangminlien Kipgen had on Monday issued a statement outlining the reasons behind withdrawal of support.
Meanwhile, as the BJP fights to hold on to power, the Congress is suddenly under siege as evident from former CM Okram Ibobi Singh being summoned by the CBI. A team of the probe agency reached Imphal on Tuesday.
The case against Singh pertains to alleged embezzlement of funds in the Manipur Development Society (MDS). Apart from him, others named by the CBI in the FIR are former MDS chairmen DS Poonia, PC Lawmuknga, O Nabakishore Singh, all retired IAS officers, Y Ningthem Singh, former MDS project director, and S Ranjit Singh, its administrative officer.
Singh was not available for comments but a member of his family confirmed the former CM having received the CBI summons.
“They (CBI) wanted to record his statement at their office here (Imphal). We requested them to go for video conferencing or visit our residence as the COVID-19 cases are rising. So, they agreed to come to our house tomorrow (Wednesday). We are not running away anywhere. We are ready to cooperate,” he said.