Conrad in Manipur for crisis management

NEW DELHI: Chief Minister Conrad Sangma, who is also the national president of the NPP, reached Imphal on Sunday along with the North East BJP supremo and Assam minister, Himanta Biswa Sarma, to discuss the political developments in Manipur with Chief Minister N Biren Singh.
Conrad met the four party MLAs, who were serving as Cabinet ministers including one who was deputy chief minister until they withdrew support to the ruling BJP-led coalition government in the state and shifted their allegiance to Congress. However, there appears to be a division within the NPP on whether to go back to BJP or support the opposition Congress which now claims to be in majority.
The Congress had rushed its leaders Ajay Maken and Lok Sabha member from Assam Gaurav Gogoi to the state on Friday but were promptly quarantined on arrival at Imphal. As per the standard COVID-19 protocols, every individual entering the state is sent to institutional quarantine.
In an interesting twist, the Congress, which is opposing NPP in its parent state Meghalaya, has offered the same positions to the NPP legislators — ministerial berths including the Deputy Chief Minister’s post.
But despite their opposition to BJP, the saffron party won the lone Rajya Sabha seat in the state. At the same time, the NPP MLAs do not want to go back to the same dispensation with Biren Singh continuing as chief minister. The BJP also has reminded that the NPP is part of NDA both in North East and at the Centre and is in no mood to change the leadership in Imphal.
In the absence of any meeting point both Sarma and Conrad might work for a patch-up with some common minimum programme and involvement of all partners in the day-to-day governance. It was Sarma, who had helped install a BJP led-government in the state even though the Congress had emerged as the single-largest party a year ago.
Biren Singh’s government was reduced to a minority as three BJP MLAs resigned from the party and the Assembly and six others – four from NPP, one from All India Trinamool Congress and an independent MLA – withdrew their support to the government. But still the Chief Minister enjoys support of 23 MLAs – 18 from BJP, four from Naga People’s Front and one from Lok Janshakti Party.
Opposition Congress has 20 MLAs and seeking the support of the four NPP MLAs and the independent MLA are now with the grand old party. The Congress on Sunday reiterated its demand for dismissal of the government and even contemplating to go to court on this issue.

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