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In Manipur, All Eyes on Governor as Cong Too Stakes Claim to Form Govt

Three-time Manipur Chief Minister Okram Ibobi Singh has staked claim to form the government in the northeastern state, a day after the BJP claimed it had the numbers despite finishing second in the 60-seat Assembly.

Subhajit Sengupta | CNN-News18SubhajitSG

Updated:March 13, 2017, 9:25 AM IST
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Imphal: Three-time Manipur Chief Minister Okram Ibobi Singh has staked claim to form the government in the northeastern state, a day after the BJP claimed it had the numbers despite finishing second in the 60-seat Assembly.

Ibobi Singh reportedly told Governor Najma Heptullah that the Congress should be invited to form the government as it had emerged as the single-largest party with 28 seats.

In a press conference, the Congress claimed the support of the NPP which has four MLAs. The letter produced by the party, however, did not have the signatures of the NPP MLAs, who on Sunday had accompanied the BJP delegation to meet the Governor.

ALSO READ | Congress MLA Switches Loyalty, BJP Set to Form Govt With NPP, LJP Support

The BJP has claimed to have secured the support of 32 MLAs, including that of legislators from the NPP, NPF, LJP and Trinamool Congress. The tally also includes Shyam Kumar, one of the 28 Congress MLAs who won from Andro constituency and jumped ship to join the BJP.

Kumar will resign and contest on a BJP ticket which means he will be disqualified, bringing down the total strength of Manipur Assembly during the floor test to 59. Thus, the effective majority now will go down to 30, allowing the BJP to form the government.

Apart from Shyam Kumar, Trinamool Congress MLA Rabindro has also joined the BJP-led alliance. With Rabindro's joining, the strength of BJP has gone up to 32 (31+1).

The onus is now on Governor Najma Heptullah. If she invites the BJP-led alliance to form the government, the Congress would lose Manipur in addition to Goa, despite emerging as the single-largest party in both states.

Reacting to the development in the two states, former Union Minister P Chidambaram said: “The BJP is stealing elections in Goa and Manipur. A party that comes second has no right to form the government.”

| Edited by: Nitya Thirumalai
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