Manipur Chief Minister N Biren Singh on Monday will face the crucial floor test even as BJP is seeking to replicate the success it got in Goa. The floor test will be held in the 60-member Manipur Assembly. To make sure that everything is in order, BJP has lodged all its legislators in a Guwahati hotel along with an Independent and a Trinamool Congress lawmaker since Thursday. In a relief to CM Singh, the five-month-long economic blockade in the state was lifted last night after successful talks among the Narendra Modi government, the state government and the Naga groups. Meanwhile, Congress had yesterday reiterated that in Goa and Manipur, it had lost to money and muscle power of the BJP, even after winning the polls.
The 60 elected members of the Manipur assembly were sworn in on Sunday. Earlier, Governor Najma Heptullah appointed V. Hangkhalian the pro-tem Speaker and administered the oath in a simple function at the Raj Bhavan. Most elected Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) members returned to Imphal on Saturday evening from Guwahati. The strength of the Congress in the house went down to 27 from its original 28. A Congress legislator, T. Shyamkumar, had joined the cabinet. On Monday, the coalition ministry headed by N. Biren Singh shall undergo a floor test.
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Earlier, N. Biren Singh was sworn in as the first BJP Chief Minister of Manipur on March 16. Only two BJP MLAs including the Chief Minister were inducted in the BJP-led ministry, while four MLAs of NPP, one each of NPF, LJP and the Congress legislator who joined the saffron party were included in the ministry.
Notably, The BJP won 21 seats and formed the state government with support of four each MLAs of NPP and NPF, one MLA of LJP and one each lawmaker of Congress and Trinamool Congress who joined the saffron party.
The economic blockade was imposed by the United Naga Council on November 1 to protest against the creation of seven new districts by the erstwhile Okram Ibobi Singh-led Congress government in the state.
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The blockade on two national highways — NH-2 and NH-37 — has led to steep rise in prices of essential commodities and severely affected the normal life in the state.
It had become a major issue in the recently held assembly polls in the state.
Appreciating the “first step of the newly formed government” led by the BJP, Manipur Governor Najma Heptulla said the lifting of the blockade “will usher in an era of peace and prosperity” in the northeastern state.
Chief Minster Biren Singh said the lifting of the blockade was “just the beginning” and that his government was trying to fulfil the promises Prime Minister Narendra Modi had made to the people of the state.
Earlier in the day, a joint statement, issued after the tripartite talks held at the Senapati district headquarters, stated that there would be “unconditional release of the arrested UNC leaders and all cases related to the economic blockade against the Naga tribe leaders and student leaders will be closed”.
It had said that the blockade would be lifted from midnight today.
The statement was signed by Joint Secretary Satyendra Garg of the Union Home Ministry, Additional Chief Secretary (Home) J Suresh Babu and Commissioner (Works) Radhakumar Singh of the Manipur government and UNC general secretary S Milan and All Naga Students Association president Seth Shatsang.
The tripartite talks were held first on February 7 in Imphal for ending the blockade, but they had failed to make any headway as the UNC refused to allow the seven new districts to be carved out.
The stakeholders had earlier met in Delhi on February 4 and the Centre had expressed hope that the blockade would end soon.
The joint statement said the next round of tripartite talks would be held within a month at political level.
(With agency inputs)