Manipur: Over 6 Congress MLAs ready to switch to BJP, say sources

The party won 21 seats in Manipur, seven less than the Congress's tally. BJP, however, got the support of the National Peoples' Party, which won four seats in the 2017 Assembly election.

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) will form the government in Manipur and has said that it will be able to prove a majority in the north-eastern state. The party's national general secretary Ram Madhav said Imphal in that the BJP has the numbers to form a government.

The BJP won 21 seats in Manipur, seven less than the Congress's tally. The party, however, got the support of the National Peoples' Party and the Naga People's Front, both which won four seats each in the 2017 Assembly election. The BJP also has the support of the Lok Janshakti Party's one MLA.

As well, one Congress MLA has defected to the BJP, but the his party has said he was abducted. And what's more, sources said over half a dozen more Congress MLAs are ready to switch over to the saffron party. The MLAs are in talks with the state BJP.

BJP MLAs MEET GOVERNOR

BJP MLAs and supporting MLAs met Manipur Governor Najma Heptulla late on Sunday evening.

NPP's president Conrad Sangma it was natural for his party to work with BJP considering both the parties are in alliance at the Centre.

Ram Madhav and Assam Health Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma are being credited for cobbling together a majority for the BJP. Sarma said the party has the support of 30 MLAs in Manipur's 60-member Assembly and will have 31 MLAs supporting on the day of a trust vote.

CONGRESS MLA DEFECTS TO BJP

Meanwhile, the Congress MLA Shyamkumar Singh from the Andro assembly constituency defected to the BJP. Congress claimed he was abducted by the BJP, an allegation Biswa completely rejected.

Under law, Shyamkumar Singh will lose his seat as a result of his defection.Because of the sudden shift Manipur Assembly will effectively become a 59-member house. The BJP with the support of 30 MLAs can then claim the right to form government.

HIGHER VOTE SHARE THAN CONG

Interestingly, while the BJP finished second to the Congress in terms of seats won, its vote share (36.3 per cent) was higher than Congress's 35.1 per cent.

Madhav used the higher voter share to justify the party staking claim to form government, tweeting, "In Manipur BJP voteshare grew frm (from) a mere 2% to 36.3%. Congress got 35%. Yet It got 7 seats more. BJP lost at least 3 seats with small margin."

The party's performance in the Imphal valley has been surprising, coming as it does after the Naga accord, which many observers said would challenge the territorial integrity of the state.

For the state's chief minister, Biren Singh and T Biswajit Singh are said to be in the running.

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