Tuesday, May 29, 2001, Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

Two groups stake claim in Manipur

Imphal, May 28
Manipur Assembly Speaker Dhananjoy Singh and MSCP (C) leader Mr M. Hemanta Singh today staked claim to form a MSCP-led Progressive Democratic Alliance government in the state.

PDA sources informed UNI that on receiving the news of the failure of the talks between state Samata Party and BJP leaders in New Delhi, Mr Singh rushed to Raj Bhavan and submitted a list of 40 members supporting him to Governor Ved Prakash Marwah.

Meanwhile, MSCP (C) leader M. Hemanta Singh tonight staked claim to form the new government in Manipur.

He staked the claim in a letter submitted to Governor Ved Prakash Marwah at 6.40 p.m. an MSCP (C) release said.

It claimed that Mr Hemanta Singh could provide a stable government with “the full support” of the other constituents of the Progressive Democratic Alliance (PDA).

Mr Hemanta Singh met the Governor earlier in the day and said his party had 10 MLAs in the state Assembly, second highest number in the PDA.

The Governor said he would take a decision on the formation of a new ministry in the next two days.

Talking to UNI at Raj Bhavan here, Mr Marwah said: “I am exploring all possibilities and the avenues of forming an alternative government in the state. I shall take a decision after careful consideration as the Governor is the preserver, protector and defender of the Constitution.”

Mr Marwah said he had discussed the constitutional aspects of the current political situation with state Advocate-General Asok Potsangbam. UNI


BJP, Samata opt out
S. Satyanarayanan
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, May 28
The saga of musical chairs continued in Manipur with the seat of power so far remaining out of bounds for all stake holders.

In an apparent conciliatory move, the BJP and the Samata Party decided not to throw their hats in the race for power in the 60-member Manipur Assembly thus leaving the field open for yet another bitter round of horse-trading.

In a succinct three-sentence joint statement, following a review meeting of the Central and state leaderships of the BJP and the Samata Party, who met here at the Central Office, it was announced that “the BJP and the Samata Party will remain outside the process of government formation in Manipur in the wake of the recent developments there.”

Seeking to put the “unfortunate developments” of the past few weeks behind them, both parties sought to act together to create conditions to end the perpetual state of uncertainty in the politics of Manipur.

The Manipur imbroglio had kept the Vajpayee-led NDA alliance on tenterhooks with the Samata Party, a key constituent in the ruling alliance, threatening to withdraw its support if its government led by Mr Radhabinod Koijam was not reinstated in the state.

Today’s meeting was attended among others by BJP President Jana Krishnamurthy, BJP’s in charge for the North-East Padmanabha Acharya, senior Samata Party leader George Fernandes, Samata’s Working President Jaya Jaitley and its General Secretary Shambu Shrivastava, besides state leaders of both parties.

Despite the joint statement, the differences between the two parties persisted with Mr Shambu Shrivastava of the Samata Party saying that President’s rule in the state was imminent and the BJP’s North-East in charge Acharya ruling out imposition of Central rule.

“In a democracy it is all a numbers game and we have to respect it,” Mr Acharya said, adding that in case any other group musters majority and forms the government in the state, the BJP would play the role of a responsible opposition.

Asked whether all 26 BJP and Samata MLAs will abide by the Central leadership’s decision, he said, “I can guarantee about six original BJP legislators....If other 20 MLAs defect en masse we won’t be able to do anything”.Back

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