Parties prepare for Supreme Court’s July 26 verdict on disqualification of MLAs
The All India Congress Committee (AICC) general secretary in-charge of Manipur, Bhakta Charan Das, disclosed on Thursday that the new president of the Manipur Pradesh Congress Committee (Manipur PCC) will be elected within seven days. On the other hand, Manipur Chief Minister N. Biren is reported to have told some MLAs that six Congress MLAs will soon be joining the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
The Supreme Court’s verdict, anticipated on July 26, is awaited by everyone. The court will rule on a long-pending appeal seeking the disqualification of 12 MLAs — three Naga People’s Front MLAs, one independent MLA, the remaining from the BJP — who were made Parliamentary Secretaries.
Mr. Das, who arrived in Imphal on Wednesday on a two-day visit, is likely to stay back for some more days since the issues have not been settled as yet. Even though he has been holding meetings with many groups in the Manipur PCC, a new president for it could not be finalised. The incumbent president, Govindas Konthoujam, submitted his resignation letter to the party’s national president, Sonia Gandhi, on July 16. Mr. Das rushed to Imphal to sort the matter out on her instructions. The announcement that a new president will be elected in a week’s time suggests that Mr. Konthoujam’s resignation has been accepted.
Mr. Das said that the BJP government had failed to contain the alarming spike in COVID-19 cases in Manipur. The situation is disappointing in Manipur since “the Chief Minister is also in charge of Health [portfolio)]”, he said. He further said that the BJP government had no right to appoint the Parliamentary Secretary in the State, and alleged that it had “no intention of serving the people but to stick to power”.
If the 12 MLAs who have been appointed Parliamentary Secretaries are disqualified, the coalition government led by the BJP will be in a minority. Mr. Das had stated on Wednesday that if the 12 MLAs were disqualified, the Congress would explore ways to stake claim for the next State government. But Mr. Biren could be a few steps ahead of the Congress, if some Congress MLAs are preparing to cross the floor.
After electing the new Manipur PCC president, Mr. Das may stay back to finalise the strategy for the formation of government. He has also said that he would discuss the party’s plans for the March 2022 Assembly elections in Manipur.