Himanta Biswa Sarma, the BJP’s go-to man for the northeast, has said the political crisis in Manipur, where his party is scrambling to remain in power, will be resolved within three days. Chief Minister Biren Singh’s government was thrown into turmoil last week after nine MLAs, including four from key ally NPP and three from the BJP, withdrew support.
Mr Sarma, who also heads the BJP’s anti-Congress political platform in the northeast – a collection of reginal parties called Northeast Democratic Alliance (NEDA) -, said negotiations with the NPP were ongoing and a positive outcome was expected.
“The Manipur situation is under control. I will be going there once again and we will be talking to all our MLAs. This will be resolved nicely. All discussions are taking place in a positive atmosphere and, within two or three days, a positive result will emerge,” Mr Sarma told media persons at a press conference in Assam’s Guwahati on Monday.
The NPP (National People’s Party) earlier claimed that the “autocratic manner” in which the BJP has led the coalition government in Manipur led to ministers from its party resigning and withdrawing support to the Biren Singh government.
The statement came on a day when Conrad Sangma, the NPP chief and Meghalaya Chief Minister, was in Manipur; he had accompanied Himanta Biswa Sarma.
“The situation will change since many people are disqualified. There will be major bypolls. Once the Speaker passes any order it cannot be revoked. The architecture of the government will be more or less the same; we will continue with the spirit of NEDA and NDA. We are going to work with a principle of friendship,” Mr Sarma said.
Manipur BJP spoke exclusively to NDTV, with state chief Dr Saikhom Tiken Singh admitting differences with the NPP.
“There were differences (but) issues like common minimum programmes could have been solved by dialogue between both sides. We agree there is instability (but) in case of a floor test we will be able to gather the numbers. We are confident about this,” he said, insisting the Manipur government had done “remarkable work” and credit for this must go to all coalition partners.
Meanwhile the newly-formed Secular Progressive Front – an alliance led by the Congress and to which the four NPP MLAs have pledged support – has claimed these four legislators will not return to support the BJP.
“We have spoken (to party chief Conrad Sangma). He tried to convince us but we have explained our position to him. We will not succumb to any pressure,” L Jayantakumar Singh, one of the MLAs and a former health minister said.
The Congress has played down any last-minute efforts by Himanta Biswa Sarma, with state unit spokesperson N Bhupendra Meitei saying: “What magic will Himanta Biswa Sarma do in two or three days to resolve this internal crisis?”