Imphal: Six Congress MLAs in Manipur have submitted their resignation from the Legislative Assembly and also quit the party on Tuesday. The six legislators who had handed over resignation letters to Speaker Yumnam Khemchand Singh the previous night, formally informed the Congress office here about leaving the party.
"Six Cong MLAs of Manipur have submitted their resignation letters to the Congress office," Hareshwar Goshwami, General Secretary, Manipur Pradesh Congress Committee, told PTI. The six are among the eight Congress legislators who had defied a party whip on Monday and skipped the one-day session of the assembly, in which the BJP-led N Biren Singh government had comfortably won the confidence vote.
Those giving up their assembly membership as well as saying goodbye to the party included Okram Henry Singh, nephew of Congress Legislature Party leader, Okram Ibobi Singh. Other legislators are- Oinam Lukhoi, Md Abdul Nasir, Paonam Brojen, Ngamthang Haokip and Ginsuanhau. Secretary of the Manipur Assembly M Ramani Devi told PTI that the speaker has accepted resignation of five of them and their assembly seats have been declared as vacant. The disqualification case of the sixth MLA P Brojen is already pending with the Speaker's Tribunal, which would be taken up on August 14, she said.
About reasons for resigning, Henry Singh said they all have cited lack of trust in the leadership of Ibobi Singh because of whom the Congress failed to form the government even when it was the single largest party in the state after polls in 2017. The rest two of the eight, who had stayed away from the day-long special session of the house the previous day are- Md Fazur Rahman and Yamthong Haokip.
The speaker said in the house Monday that the two had informed that they were in home quarantine. Sources said that Fazur Rahman, who represents Wabagai assembly seat, has tested positive for the virus and has been admitted to a hospital here Tuesday. On receiving resignation letters, they were summoned by the speaker after the assembly session on Monday night to get it verified, Henry Singh said.
Though the government's victory in the vote of confidence was a foregone conclusion, the absence of the eight Congress MLAs from the crucial session showed smart political move by the chief minister.
The 60-member house has an effective strength of 53, including the speaker, who had the casting vote he could have used in the event of a tie.
Four members had been disqualified earlier and three of the BJP resigned sometime back.
The ruling coalition had 29 MLAs, including the speaker, while the Congress had 24, of whom eight abstained.
With this victory, Biren Singh, jolted by a string of desertions in the party mid-June, appeared to have consolidated his grip on the ruling coalition which has 18 BJP MLAs, four each of NPP and NPF, one each of the TMC, Lok Janshakti Party and an Independent.
After failed attempt to unseat Biren Singh from the power in the wake of resignation of nine ruling coalition legislators on June 17, the grand old party had aimed at putting the BJP-led ruling coalition on mat during trust vote, but it too could not come true for them.
Congress which had won a total of 28 seats to emerg as the single largest party in the 60-member Manipur house after the 2017 polls saw members leaving it from time to time. Soon after the election, one of its legislator Thounaojam Shyamkumar was disqualified under the anti- defection law for joining BJP.
Further, three Congress MLAs - Kshetrimayum Biren Singh, Yengkhom Surchandra Singh and Sanasam Bira Singh- were disqualified from membership of Manipur Legislative Assembly by the speaker. And now six have resigned from the assembly and also given up membership of the party.