Twelve Congress MLAs in Manipur have resigned from state party posts, triggering speculation about the possibility of their crossing over to the ruling BJP, but a senior legislator among them on Thursday said they had no intention of joining any other party.
The resignation of the MLAs from the Pradesh Congress Committee (PCC) came on Wednesday after the grand old party lost both the Lok Sabha seats in the north-eastern state. While the Inner Manipur seat was won by Rajkumar Ranjan Singh of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), Lorho S Pfoze of the Naga People's Front (NPF) got elected from the Outer Manipur constituency. The resignations triggered speculation if the Congress MLAs were planning to join the BJP, but some of them dismissed it, saying their action was aimed at strengthening the party at the grassroot level.
The BJP heads a coalition government in the state led by Chief Minister N Biren Singh. The 12 Congress MLAs submitted their resignations to PCC president Gaikhangam, who is also a member of the Congress Working Committee (CWC). The Congress had 29 MLAs in the state after the 2017 Assembly polls, but eight of its legislators had defected to the BJP last year, taking the saffron party's tally from 21 to 29 in the 60-member House.
At present, the BJP also enjoys the support of one MLA each of the LJP and the AITC, besides that of an Independent member and four National People's Party (NPP) legislators. In 2017, the saffron party was able to form the government in the state with the support of the NPF, the NPP and others. Kh Joykishan Singh, who submitted his resignation from the post of MPCC vice-president, told PTI on Thursday that all the 12 MLAs were in solidarity with the Congress.
"Our resignation from the party posts is to enable us to work at the grassroots level in our Assembly constituencies to restore the confidence of the people in the Congress," he said. Echoing similar views, Gaikhangam said the legislators would now focus on strengthening the party organisation in the state.
Asked whether the party would accept their resignation, the MPCC president said, "It is up to AICC president Rahul Gandhi to take the final decision." Though the NPF decided to withdraw support to the BJP-led government in Manipur this month, its state president Awangbou Newmai had said on May 19 that it would be implemented after the Lok Sabha poll process was completed on May 23.