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Manipur: Five ex-Congress MLAs join BJP in New Delhi

In what could be termed as a feather to its cap for the Biren-led government, five MLAs who had recently resigned from the Congress party, formally joined the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Wednesday.

The ex-Congress MLAs who joined the Saffron party are Okram Henry of Wangkhei Assembly Constituency, Oinam Lukhoi Singh of Wangoi Assembly Constituency, Paonam Brojen of Wangjing Tentha Assembly Constituency, Ngamthang Haokip of Saitu Assembly Constituency and Ginsunhau of Singhat AC Assembly Constituency. They joined BJP in a low key function held at BJP Headquarters, New Delhi in the presence of the Saffron party’s national general secretary Ram Madhav, national vice president Baijayant Panda and Manipur Chief Minister N Biren Singh, as published in the morning bell.

Okram Henry Singh, who is among the five ex-MLAs, is the nephew of Congress Legislature Party leader and former Chief Minister CM Okram Ibobi Singh, who ruled the state for 15 years.

Warmly felicitating the new faces in the party, BJP National General Secretary Ram Madhav said that BJP along with some like-minded parties have been running a popular coalition Government in the state for the last three and half years. BJP led coalition Government came in the state in 2017 after overthrowing the Congress regime that had been running for 15 years. During the last three and half years of its tenure, the new BJP led Government has been able to make the state one of the fastest growing states in the North east. The state has been marching ahead with 16 percent GDP growth.

Prime Minister Narendra selected the state for Rs 3,000 Cr project to provide drinking water to all households, which has now started. Union Minister of Highways Nitin Gadkari also yesterday laid the foundation stones of Rs 3000 Highway project. The state under leadership of Chief Minister N Biren has been able to come out from the nightmarish era of Overdraft after 15 years. Normally, NE states are shrouded in Overdraft. With Chief Minister N Biren skillfully managing the economy, the state has been freed from protracted overdraft problem, Madhav claimed.

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Stating that Biren Government has been passing through series of Congress onslaughts to destabilize the popular Government by hook or by crook for the last one year, he said that Congress recently attempted to destabilize the Government by holding camp and forcing three BJP MLAs to join the former, apart from its attempt to defeat BJP’s Raja Sabha candidate in RS poll, but all such Congress efforts went fruitless. 

Recently, on August 10, Congress again attempted to destabilize the Government by moving a No Confidence Motion’ in cahoots with some BJP MLAs and alliance partners. However, Chief Minister N Biren himself moved a trust vote in the floor of the Manipur Legislative Assembly and won it by voice vote.

“Instability on the part of the BJP coalition Government has been over for now with five Congress MLAs, two from Hill and three from the valley, having joined BJP. BJP has overcome the onslaughts to destabilize the Government and will be able to run a stable Government in the remaining one and half year term. The party will come back to power in next term”, Madhav confided.

Only 47 MLAs left in the 60 strength Manipur Manipur Legislative Assembly and Congress which won 28 MLAs in 2017 state Assembly election has now been left with only 15 MLAs with 13 MLAs of the party having resigned and supported BJP.

Former MLA Okram Henary said that Congress was ruling the state for 15 years during which the state could not see much changes the people needed, development, peace and better hill-valley ties. The Congress regime was shrouded in public trust deficit.

With the advent of new BJP led Government, the state saw various changes and new policies like Peoples day, Hill leaders’ day, Go to Hill, Go to Village etc.  Even though we were in the Opposition Congress, we felt like supporting the Government in view of such changes brought about in the state. The activities of the Government touched our hearts and we began supporting the Government unofficially.

Contending that the present BJP Government is quite different from the previous Congress Government, Henary said that the present Government comes out whenever people need and as such the six Congress MLAs resigned and joined BJP to save the “peoples’ Government” for the future of the state.

He said that he had never voted BJP in his entire life and never looked the BJP symbol closely, but he decided to save the Government in larger interest of the people.

After the function, the five MLAs, accompanied by Chief Minister N Biren later met BJP national president Jagat Prakash Nadda at his office.

The development came just days after the Biren Singh government won a trust vote in the Manipur Legislative Assembly.

Notably, CM Biren Singh travelled to Delhi along with six MLAs who had resigned from the Congress after skipping the trust vote proceedings on August 10, defying a whip by the party.

CM Biren also accompanied his son-in-law and Congress MLA RK Imo Singh during the Delhi trip.

During the recent trust vote in the Manipur Assembly, the BJP-led government won it comfortably with a margin of 28-16. The six Congress MLAs had submitted their resignation from the Assembly soon after the trust vote. They resigned from the party a day later.

Ex-MLA Md Abdul Nasir of Lilong AC, who had resigned from Congress to support BJP Government, was not seen attending today’s felicitation ceremony held at the BJP Headquarters, New Delhi, the reason of which is yet to be ascertained.

According to a source, Md Nasir is not expected to join BJP but he will fight election with support from the BJP.

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