Friday, May 25, 2001,
Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

Central rule in Manipur likely: Choaba

Imphal, May 24
President’s rule may be imposed in Manipur due to the political crisis arising after the fall of the People’s Front government in the state, Union Minister of State for Food Processing and the NDA emissary Choaba Singh said.

“Because of the betrayal of trust of the National Democratic Alliance leadership, by the state party members, there was possibility of imposition of Central rule and the Assembly kept under suspended animation,” Mr Choaba Singh told reporters here yesterday.

Mr Choaba Singh said he had been sent to look into the ongoing political crisis in the state on behalf of the NDA, adding that he would meet Governor Ved Marwah today to discuss the present problems.

Janata Dal (Secular) has meanwhile demanded imposition of President’s rule in Manipur for “amelioration of the financial crisis and to improve the law and order situation in the region.”

In a statement, JD (S) Manipur unit president W. Kulabidhu Singh said today the people wanted Central rule in view of the frequent political crisis arising out of attempts by elected representatives to change the government.

Mr Kulabidhu Singh who held a discussion on the Manipur situation with the Governor yesterday, said central leaders of the BJP and the Samata Party may patch up the differences but the present elected representatives in the state would not.

He said the W.Nipamacha Singh ministry was sworn in on March 2, 2000, with 33 ministers. Even before the elected members were administered oath, some members of smaller parties defected and joined the Manipur State Congress Party (MSCP).

The state JD(S) president said the Koijam ministry was sworn in on February 15, 2001, with the support of 58 MLAs except senior Congress leader Rishang Keishing in the 60-member House.

However, in a span of about 14 months, Mr Kulabidhu Singh said several MLAs “crossed the floor defecting three or four times and some of them five or six times for the sole reason of acquiring power and amassing wealth.”

Barring two or three ministers, he said, most of the ministers were involved in corrupt practices. The only way to bring financial discipline was to impose Central rule for a short period, he said, adding that attempts should be made to improve the law and order situation also during the period.

Meanwhile, the Samata Party MLAs in Manipur have reaffirmed their faith in the leadership of Mr Radhabinod Koijam whose People’s Front government was voted out on the floor of the Assembly on Monday, party sources said.

In a meeting of the party MLAs, presided by caretaker Chief Minister Radhabinod Koijam, they also decided to strengthen the hand of Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee, sources said.

They demanded reinstallation of the Koijam government but if it was not possible, several members said, they would accept a new government led by BJP member H.Bhuban Singh, the lone BJP member who voted in favour of the confidence motion on Monday last, sources said.

Mr Bhuban Singh, former Higher Education Minister, was the only BJP MLA out of 26 MLAs who obeyed the party’s central directive and favoured the confidence motion sought by Samata Chief Minister Koijam, sources said.

However, no decision was taken during the meeting of the Samata Party MLAs, sources said.

They said Samata Party members took exception to the alleged use of the Speaker’s bungalow by MLAs to launch the ouster campaign of the People’s Front ministry led by Mr Koijam.

The meeting also took stock of the manner in which the ministry was unseated by major front partner, the BJP, sources added. PTI


Decision in a day or two: Fernandes

Navi Mumbai, May 24
Samata Party president George Fernandes today said various options, including imposition of President’s rule, were being discussed to end the political uncertainty in Manipur and a solution may be in place in a day or two.

“Other options include an alternative government or restoration of the Samata government. The stalemate will be resolved in a day or two as we cannot wait till May 28”, Mr Fernandes, who was here to inaugurate the annual convention of Konkan Railway Corporation Employees Union (KRCEU), told reporters.

He said “the problem had to be sorted out fast in the interests of the people of Manipur”, adding that the episode was an unfortunate one and should not have happened.

“The BJP leadership told me that their people in Manipur acted on their own initiative and went out of their control”, the former Defence Minister said.

In reply to a query, Mr Fernandes, who is also NDA convener, expressed optimism that the Vajpayee-led government would complete its full term. “We are doing well and will do better in the coming years”, he added.

“A slip here and a fall there will not deter us from our goal — completing a five-year term in office”, he added. PTI

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