Just a day after Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi chaired a meeting of the party's coordination committee for northeastern states to discuss ways to strengthen the party in the region, four more party MLAs switched over to BJP in Manipur on Friday.
Congress lawmakers Y Surchandra, Ngamthang Haokip, O Lukhoi and S Bira were inducted into the BJP by Manipur Chief Minister N Biren Singh and party state president K Bhabanada in the presence of party's North East-in-charge MP Ram Madhav and North-East Democratic Alliance (NEDA) convenor Himanta Biswasarma.
"Yesterday Rahul Gandhi chaired a meeting with their leaders to strengthen Congress party in Northeast and today four of their MLAs have joined BJP. This itself shows that Rahul Ji cant show any further progress of the Congress here," Biswasarma said, hitting the Congress VP below the belt.
"We are working towards a Congress mukt northeast. We have succeeded in Assam, Arunachal and Manipur and we are now working on Meghalaya and Tripura," he added.
Headed by Meghalaya Chief Minister Mukul Sangma, the Congress committee for northeastern states include former Chief Ministers of Arunachal Pradesh and Manipur, Nabam Tuki and Okram Ibobi Singh met Gandhi in New Delhi on Thursday. After successfully snatching power form the Congress in both Arunachal Pradesh and Manipur, the BJP is now aiming for Meghalaya next.
Right after the Manipur Assembly elections, Congress legislator T Shyamkumar had switched over to BJP and was sworn in as a cabinet minister immediately. Another MLA, Ginsuanhau Zou, soon followed him to join BJP. Since then speculation has been rife about a dozen Congress lawmakers being in talks with the BJP leadership for a possible switch over.
The Congress, which won 28 seats to emerge as the single largest party in the Manipur Assembly failed to form the government, falling short of three seats to get the magic figure of 31. The BJP, which won 21 seats successfully cobbled up a majority in the 60 member Assembly with support from regional parties like the NPP and NPF to form government.
The lone Trinamool Congress lawmaker in Manipur, T Robindro Singh who had supported BJP during the crucial floor test also merged with the Manipur BJP today.
With inputs from Jit Nigomba