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Speaker in Politics: better think before leap

The then speaker of the Parliament Somnath Chatterjee remained neutral and did not go by the decision of his party. Nobody, including his party (CPI-M) dareï not challenge his decision as he was only doing his duty.
Before the coming of the anti defection law, it was often the speaker of the Manipur Legislative Assembly that toppled the government. Late Wahengbam Nipamacha used the power of speaker to topple the then Rishang Keishing’s government. The same technique was applied to topple him by the speaker of his time again. Failure to do so he kept continuing the attempt during Radhabinod Koijam’s government. Later, Dhananjoy ended his career as he was being used by some legislators as a tool to topple the government.
The same regalia of the yesteryear politics seem to repeat again. A news that goes viral in social networking site about the speaker of Manipur Legislative Assembly intimidating the eight congress MLAs has reflected the integrity of the Speaker Yumnam Khemchand. Until recently, every watch dog who had been following the political development appreciated Yumnam Khemchand as he remained neutral by not siding with any group. His maturity and understanding of the status as he was mandated by the legislators unanimously was appreciated by most people including this newspaper.
Where there is smoke there is fire, saying so it is hard to believe that Speaker Yumnam Khemchand directly warned the 8 congress MLAs threatening disqualification if supported  the Chief Minister N. Biren Singh. But until the Speaker Yumnam Khemchand gives a clarification in this regard whether he had actually threatened the 8 congress MLAs or not, the report would be accepted as true. We have the stand that the defected MLAs should be disqualified according to the existing anti-defection law. However taking steps for disqualification according to law is one thing, and threatening to disqualify to extract benefit for something is another thing.
After all where there is smoke there is fire. If the saying is right and if the speaker crossed his limit, then democracy is nearing its end. Sanctity of the post of Speaker of the temple of the Temple of Democracy will be spoiled.
On the other hand everyone knows that there is no leader of the dissidents and it is everyone’s understanding that every legislators want to hold power.
If what has been reported about Khemchand’s new move remain true, he certainly may have wanted to replace N. Biren Singh. It was Bishwajit who got majority support of the BJP MLAs to lead the party but it was N. Biren Singh who was chosen to lead the party and it was also his political skill that formed the government. Now Bishwajit’s effort to change the Chief Minister showed that he had the desire to become the Chief Minister. How could someone who had struggled so hard to become the Chief Minister would offer the post to someone else? The only possibility is that the MLAs shifted their loyalty. This also raises the question if some MLAs are hell bent to destabilize the present government by any means.
Disagreement amongst the dissidents over who will replace the N. Biren Singh or attempt to use the power of Speaker to destabilize the present government by some legislators now arises.
The continuing war by some power monger MLAs of BJP indicates that they seem to forget that the number of Ministers that could be allotted is only 12 including the Chief Minister. How could anybody be happy if they are not awarded the Ministerial berth? BJP has only 21 MLAs and it is impossible that without the support of the NPP, NPF, and other MLAs from other parties, the BJP government can continue.
Playing hard game with the 8 defected Congress MLAs will not be able to continue the BJP government. It will aggravate the already inbuilt instability of BJP led government.
The fate of Dhananjoy, the then Speaker of the Manipur Legislative Assembly might fall on Yumnam Khemchand, as the only option left to the central government is imposition of president rule by keeping the state assembly under animated suspension.
The crisis reeling in the BJP led government should not invite president rule in the state in their own interest.

Rinku Khumukcham

Rinku Khumukcham, Editor of Imphal Times has more than 15+ years in the field of Journalism. A seasoned editor, was a former editor of ISTV News. He resides in Keishamthong Elangbam Leikai, with his wife and parents. Rinku can be contacted at [email protected] 

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