BJP stakes claim to form govt in Manipur with help from NPP, LJP and NPF

The Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) hopes to annex four of the five states that went to polls this year, forming government in Manipur as well with support from three NDA partners, including the Naga People's Front.

The party would still need the support of one more MLA to have majority in a house of 60 MLAs.,

The BJP also unanimously elected N Biren Singh as the leader of the BJP legislature party in Manipur and met governor Najma Heptulla to stake claim to form the next government.

Incumbent chief minister O Ibobi Singh has already met the governor claiming that he has support of 28 Congress members of the state legislature, although 3 short of majority.

The governor, however, stuck to the demand that Ibobi Singh cannot continue without proving majority in a hung House - that he would have to resign first to pave the way for a government formation.

"I have not received till today any resignation from the chief minister though I told him yesterday I can start the process of government formation only after you resign," Heptulla said. As per rules, until the present chief minister resigns, the process of next government formation cannot be started, a highly-placed Raj Bhavan source said.

In his meeting with Heptulla last night, Ibobi had flaunted a list of 28 Congress legislators. He also claimed to have the support of four National People's Party MLAs. deputy chief minister Gaikhangam and state Congress president T N Haokip had accompanied him to the Raj Bhavan.

The Raj Bhavan source said, "On seeing the names of the four NPP MLAs on an ordinary piece of paper, Heptullah asked Ibobi to bring the NPP president and the MLAs."

Sources said Biren Singh also met the governor at the Raj Bhavan. "N Biren Singh has been unanimously elected leader of the BJP Legislature Party. He is the party's chief ministerial candidate," union minister Piyush Goyal told reporters.

The BJP expects to wrest power in Manipur with the National People's Party and the Lok Janshakti Party formally extending their support, thus ensuring its hold on four of the five states that went to polls in February and March.

"We have been able to come to an understanding with the NPP and the Lok Janshakti Party in our bid to form the government in Manipur," BJP general secretary Ram Madhav told a press conference on Sunday.

The NPP and the LJP, both NDA constituents at the centre, have won four seats and one seat, respectively, which, along with BJP's 21 will add up to 26, five short of the required figure of 31 to form the government.

Madhav said that as per an "understanding" with another NDA partner Naga People's Front, which has won four seats, the number would go up to 30 and the support of one more MLA would be "secured".

He said that the NPF had issued a press statement wherein it said it was willing to form a non-Congress government in Manipur.

The NPP's Conrad Sangma said that the popular verdict was for a change in Manipur.

Asked who would be the chief minister in the event of the BJP forming a coalition government, Madhav said that the party leadership would decide soon.