Newly elected Manipur BJP legislators have been lodged in a Guwahati hotel along with an Independent and a Trinamool Congress lawmaker since Thursday. They are believed to be in the city to avoid getting poached ahead of the trust vote in the state assembly on Monday even as they denied it. “There is nothing like fear of poaching by the Congress before the floor test. We are here just to relax and also meet some of our senior party leaders,” BJP lawmaker Thokchom Radheshyam Singh told The Sunday Express. He hoped that Chief Minister N Biren Singh would win the floor test. “While we are all returning to Imphal on Sunday to take oath and then take part in the floor test, we are more than confident that our chief minister will sail through smoothly.’’
Another BJP lawmaker said that nobody should be surprised if N Biren Singh gets support of a larger number of legislators. “There is every possibility of cross-voting by quite a number of Congress MLAs.” Seventeen BJP legislators have been lodged in the hotel under tight security and have held several meetings with party leaders like Himanta Biswa Sarma and Ajay Jamwal. Sarma, who is North-East Democratic Alliance’s chief and has been credited for the formation of BJP government in Manipur, hosted dinner for the legislators on Saturday. “…it was largely because of his (Sarma)’s strategy and support that we could oust the Congress despite having no MLA in the previous House,” said another BJP MLA, who did not want to be named.
Earlier, BJP lawmaker V Hangkhanlian left for Imphal to be be sworn in as pro-tem Speaker on Sunday when the legislators are expected to return to Imphal. Governor Najma Heptulla has appointed Hangkhanlian as the Protem Speaker, official sources said Saturday. The Protem Speaker would then administer the oath to all newly elected MLAs, the sources said. Hangkhanlian was elected from Churachandpur Assembly constituency on a BJP ticket.