Shillong: Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led coalition in Manipur is safe. At least the tweet by Assam Health Minister and BJP trouble shooter Himanta Biswa Sarma on Wednesday evening claimed so, “NPP will continue to support BJP government in Manipur for the development of Manipur.”
The Manipur government headed by Chief Minister N Biren Singh was plunged into crisis recently after four NPP and three BJP MLAs withdrew their support from it.
The BJP was in a desperate situation to save the coalition and it flew the four dissenting National People’s Party (NPP) MLAs to Delhi early on Wednesday. A chartered plane flew from Imphal to Guwahati on Tuesday evening and the next morning, it left with the legislators, Sarma and NPP chief Conrad Sangma.
The NPP delegation met senior BJP leaders JP Nadda and Amit Shah in Delhi to iron out the creases in the coalition. The MLAs were demanding a change in state leadership.
“A NPP delegation led by @SangmaConrad and Dy Chief Minister of Manipur Sri Y Joy Kumar Singh met Honble Home Minister Sri @AmitShah ji today in New Delhi. Both @BJP4India and NPP will continue to work together for the development of Manipur (sic),” Sarma tweeted at 7.38pm. Sangma later retweeted this.
At 8.24 pm, Sarma again tweeted about the NPP team’s meeting with Nadda.
Earlier in the evening, NPP’s Meghalaya unit head WR Kharlukhi said the party would discuss all the aspects, including the MLAs’ demand for a new leadership. “They left this morning and the discussion is still on. I am sure of a consensus and all facets (of the problem) will be discussed,” he added.
Congress leaders Gaurav Gogoi, who is a Lok Sabha MP from Assam’s Kaliabor, and Ajay Maken, both of whom were in Imphal, were in Delhi on Wednesday. “We are still having a meeting with the state leadership and a statement will be issued soon. There are other issues (to be discussed) too, like the CBI case,” said Gogoi on phone from Delhi.
Meanwhile, the Congress has accused the BJP of indulging in ‘quarantine politics’. An agency report quoted Assam Pradesh Congress Committee president and Rajya Sabha member Ripun Bora as saying, “It is very clear that the BJP is indulging in quarantine politics. They have one set of rules for their leaders travelling to other states, while they have another set for Congress leaders.”
Bora said Gogoi and Maken were placed under quarantine in Imphal when they flew to Manipur last week while the same was not done for Sarma and Sangma.
Also, the four NPP MLAs flew to Delhi after spending a night in a hotel in Guwahati and “it is baffling how these four MLAs were not kept under quarantine”.
In a tweet on Wednesday evening, Gogoi said, “Ram Madhav tried to take a moral high ground and wrongly alleged that Ajay Maken and I violated quarantine norms in Manipur. Today the hypocrisy ended as he himself violates the norms in Imphal.”
Ram Madhav was in Imphal and felicitated the newly elected Rajya Sabha MP there. He told the media there that the Biren Singh government would complete its term till 2022.
Former Manipur chief minister Okram Ibobi Singh, who was on Wednesday questioned by the CBI over alleged financial irregularities in the Manipur Development Society (MDS) during his tenure as its chairman, said he held the post only for a year and did not have any power to authorise transactions.
While Congress spokesperson Gogoi said the CBI came calling at the former chief minister’s residence just days after the Ibobi Singh-led SPF coalition met the governor and demanded a special session so that the “unstable and shaky” Biren Singh government can be “brought down”.
“It is a totally politically motivated case,” he said. Gogoi said the Ibobi Singh government was till 2017 and no case was lodged since then. “Surely, everybody can see this is politically motivated and attempt to threaten and intimidate, but, we will not be threatened and intimidated by this politically motivated steps,” he also said.
Gogoi said that the Congress will continue its efforts to expose how the Biren Singh government is “massively unpopular” and how likely it is to fall soon.
With agency inputs