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Revolt by dissident Congress MLAs: a plus point for BJP

by IT Web Admin
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By- Shyamsunder Haobam
Imphal, April 9: Prime Minister Narendra Modi rode to power in May 2014 almost decimating the Congress party, leaving with just 11 states ruled by the congress. Less than a year later Congress lost Maharastra and Haryana to the BJP. Recently, Congress rebels aided by the BJP ended the congress rule in Arunachal Pradesh. Since then, the Congress government in Manipur is also on a shaky wicket. Manipur is going to polls in 2017 and it is uncertain even now whether chief minister Okram Ibobi’s third term as chief minister will survive the ongoing revolt by dissident congress MLAs before his term completes.
About 25 dissident MLAs have hinted at toppling Ibobi’s government into a crisis. Congress national president Sonia Gandhi had assured them in a meeting that their demands for a cabinet reshuffle and sacking some ministers would be considered.
The congress high command intervened and in a desperate move to avert Arunachal Pradesh like situation in the state, announced a leadership change in the state congress replacing Deputy Chief Minister Gaikhangam with TN Haokip as the president of Manipur Pradesh Congress Committee.
All India Congress Committee general secretary in charge of Manipur V. Narayanasmy had earlier stated that there was no rebellion within the congress party and that it is a kind of dirty game by the BJP in congress ruled states. This however seems to be a face saving statement considering that ministers have seem to have given a word of warning that all of them would quit if Ibobi drops even one of them from the ministry to conciliate the dissidents leaving chief minister Ibobi Singh in a fix. The dissidents are demanding the dropping of all the ministers.
Both the dissidents as well as Ibobi’s ministers are playing number games. While the ministers claim that the number of dissidents was dwindling, dissident MLAs claim they are still intact.
Ibobi appears to have promised that at the end of two and half years, all ministers would be replaced by another set, a promise never fulfilled which seem to have stirred the present crisis. This leaves Ibobi in a Lose-Lose situation as there is still no visible breakthrough even after discussions with senior ministers and dissident leaders.
Any rash act by Ibobi favouring either the dissidents or his ministry probably would disintegrate the state congress party and their prospects in the next assembly elections which is less than a year from now. The newly appointed president TN Haokip, chief minister Okram Ibobi and National president Sonia Gandhi have intimidating tasks ahead to solve the looming political crisis in the state. A minor mismanagement would leave BJP having the last laugh bringing an end to the 14 years of congress rule in Manipur. Even though congress had stated that it is an internal matter, the present political turmoil may even turn out to be graver than an internal matter.
Congress had won 42 seats of 60 seats in 2012 general assembly elections which went up to 47 seats after 5 MLAs of the Manipur state congress party joined the congress in 2014.

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Imphal Times is a daily English newspaper published in Imphal and is registered with Registrar of the Newspapers for India with Regd. No MANENG/2013/51092


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