Monday, May 28, 2001, Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

PDA, Chaoba Cong both decide to stake claim

Imphal, May 27
The political instability plaguing Manipur for the past seven days seems to be heading for a denouement with the newly formed BJP-led Progressive Democratic Alliance (PDA) deciding to stake claim to form government in the next 48 hours.

Sources said they PDA would stake claim irrespective of the outcome of tomorrow’s talks between the Samata Party and BJP leaders in Delhi.

Meanwhile, in another political development in the state, the Manipur State Congress Party (MSCP), Chaoba group, at its central executive meeting chaired by Vice-President Amujao Singh this evening, declared that they would stake claim tomorrow to form a government in Manipur.

The MSCP (C) announcement has surprised all in the state since it is a PDA ally and PDA members have been camping in New Delhi for the past few days to convince the BJP leadership to permit the alliance to form the government in Manipur. The MSCP (C) with 10 MLAs is the second largest party within the newly formed PDA.

The MSCP (C) working President and senior party MLA V. Hangkhalian, who is now in Delhi, was directed by the CEC meeting to take immediate and appropriate action to contact and negotiate with other PDA partners to support an MSCP (C)-led PDA government.

A party spokesman said the party’s decision followed the BJP central leadership’s decision not to install a BJP-led government in Manipur and the MSCP (C) being the second largest party in the PDA had every right to form the next ministry.

The decision to stake claim to form a new government by the MSCP (C) indicated sharp differences within the BJP-led party sources said. It is unlikely that any senior MSCP (C) functionary will, therefore, attend tomorrow’s meeting convened by the central BJP leadership in Delhi to defuse the Manipur crisis.

Party President and Union Minister for Food Processing Chaoba Singh, who had held meetings with top party functionaries and who went to Delhi along with other PDA MLAs, has gone to New Zealand, the sources said adding he would not take part in tomorrow’s meeting in Delhi.

Toughening their stand a day ahead of tomorrow’s crucial meeting between central leaders of the BJP and the Samata Party, the saffron party’s allies today shot off letters to the BJP high command extending support to their leader, Mr R.K. Dorendra Singh, for the formation of a government in the state.

Presidents of the MSCP, the NCP, the JD (L) and the Federal Party of Manipur, all constituents of the BJP-led PDA, wrote separate letters to BJP chief Jana Krishnamurthy extending “full support” to Mr Dorendra Singh for the formation of the PDA government.

The defiant attitude of some angry PDA legislators came to the fore at their meeting when they gave a virtual ultimatum that if the crisis was not resolved at tomorrow’s meeting they would send a letter to the governor staking claim to form the government.

Earlier, the Samata Party in Manipur at its meeting held in Imphal last night slammed the state BJP unit for “engineering” the defection of 10 Manipur state Congress legislators from the ruling People’s Front coalition.

Chaired by caretaker Chief Minister and Samata Party leader Radhabinod Koijam, the party passed several resolutions. In one resolution, the party alleged that after splitting the MSCP MLAs from the coalition fold they were kept in confinement at the residence of the Assembly Speaker, Dr S. Dhananjoy, with his active connivance.

The meeting criticised the “recalcitrant” stand of the BJP MLAs in defying their central leadership in a bid to form a government in the state “by hook or by crook”.

It further alleged that the MLAs against whom disqualification cases were pending, were coerced to sign papers declaring their split from the party and merger into the BJP, failing which they were threatened with disqualification.

On their signing these papers, the orders freeing them from disqualification were passed, the party said.

In another resolution, Samata MLAs pledged to abide by the decision of the central leadership in resolving the crisis in Manipur. However, it also urged the central leadership to take into account the financial problems and insurgency in the North-East, particularly in Manipur, and appreciate the necessity of having a stable government in the state to usher in peace, progress and prosperity.

The meeting condemned the BJP MLAs for “toppling” the People’s Front government “without any credible reasons”. It accused the BJP and MSCP MLAs of failing to charge the government with omission or commission in the Assembly, despite making wild and unfounded allegations against it outside the House.

The party lamented the “unwillingness” of the BJP central leadership “to enforce discipline and punish” those MLAs “openly defying” its directives.

In an earlier interview to UNI, Mr Koijam had alleged that the BJP central leadership had little control over its state unit and its assurance of supporting the People’s Front was an eyewash.Back

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