After BJP, Congress' Okram Ibobi Singh meets Manipur Governor Najma Heptullah to stake claim to form government

Devyani Sultania
After BJP, Congress' Okram Ibobi Singh meets Manipur Governor Najma Heptullah to stake claim to form government

The Congress on Sunday night staked claim to form the government in Manipur, hours after the BJP met Governor Najma Heptullah for the same purpose. Okram Ibobi Singh, the Congress' incumbent chief minister, also met the governor at Raj Bhawan to stake claim to form the government in the state.

Singh addressed a press conference where he said that he had requested the governor to allow the Congress to form the government in the state and prove majority on the floor of the House. Singh's party is the single largest party with 28 MLAs. "I am hoping the Governor will do justice," he said.

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Earlier on Sunday, Congress MLA from Andro T Shyamkumar quit the party and defected to the BJP. He went to the Raj Bhawan with BJP leaders and assured support to the BJP when they form the government in the state. However, CM Singh said that no one has defected from the Congress yet. Speculations are rife that over a dozen Congress MLAs might quit the party and defect to the BJP because they are not in favour of Singh becoming the leader of the  Congress Legislature Party (CLP) again.

The Congress failed to make a mark in the assembly elections this year having won only 28 seats in the 60-seat Assembly. It failed to reach the halfway mark of 31 after having won 42 seats in the 2012 elections. Meanwhile, the BJP put on a brilliant show by winning 21 seats. The party had not won a single seat in the 2012 elections.

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Four MLAs each from the Naga People's Front (NPF) and National People's Party (NPP), Karam Shyam, a legislator from the Lok Janshakti Party (LJP), and All India Trinamool Congress MLA T Robindro have offered support to the BJP to form the government in the state. With Congress rebel Kumar having joined the BJP as well, the number reaches 32. Meanwhile, no party has come out and offered support to the Congress.

The BJP will hold a meeting with its MLAs on Monday to decide on the swearing-in ceremony and on who should lead the legislature party in the state. Meanwhile, the Congress is also trying to keep its legislators together and holding discussions to reach the halfway mark of 31 so that it can form the government in the state. 

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