The BJP-led coalition government in Manipur won the confidence motion moved by Chief Minister N Biren Singh through a voice vote in the monsoon session of the Assembly convened on Monday.
The one-day session ended with much drama as the opposition Congress opposed the Speaker’s decision to hold a voice vote. Eight of the 24 Congress legislators did not vote, with two MLAs abstaining and six others submitting their resignations to the Speaker.
Okram Henry resigned from Wangkhei seat as did Ngamthang Haokip and Md Abdul Nasir — both were ministers in the Okram Ibobi Singh cabinet.
Chairman of Manipur Renewable Energy Development Agency G S Haupu Zou, P Brojen Singh and Oinam Lukhoi Singh were among Congress MLAs who resigned ahead of the trust vote. The resignations and abstentions ensured an easy win for the BJP.
As for the ruling side, all 29 members including the Speaker, 18 BJP members, four each from NPP and NPF, one each from TMC and LJP, and independent attended the session. The Manipur Assembly currently has 53 members while its total strength is 60.
Former Congress CM Okram Ibobi Singh had demanded a special session ahead of the Rajya Sabha election in June after BJP ally NPP withdrew support from the N Biren Singh-led government and three BJP MLAs resigned. Two Congress MLAs — Sagolband MLA and Biren’s son-in-law R K Imo and Wanghkei MLA Henry Okram, Okram Ibobi’s nephew — were sent showcause notices by the Congress for cross-voting in favour of the BJP.
Ahead of the trust vote, only 13 Congress MLAs attended a CLP meeting called by Ibobi Singh on Sunday. Soon after, seven office-bearers in the Manipur State Congress Committee resigned from their posts.
“In total, 16 MLAs, including those who have already resigned, are likely to leave the party. The BJP’s gameplan is to try and secure two-third resignations from the Congress. The next few weeks will tell us if this can actually happen,” said a BJP insider.
“This was no time to demand a trust vote amid a pandemic. The possibility of other MLAs quitting shows their lack of faith in Ibobi Singh’s leadership. Should he then not resign?” said Imo.
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