Okram Ibobi Singh, Mamohan Singh
The Chief Minister of Manipur, Okram Ibobi Singh (left) calling on the Prime Minister, Manmohan Singh, in New Delhi on March 10, 2012. [Representational Image]PIB

Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Monday appointed N Biren Singh as its chief ministerial candidate in Manipur. He will meet Governor Najma Heptulla to stake claim to form the government in Manipur after incumbent Chief Minister Okram Ibobi Singh agreed to resign.

Ibobi had earlier said that he would resign from his post as CM within 24 hours after refusing to resign initially despite Heptulla asking him to do so. He had said that he would resign "today or tomorrow."

Late on Sunday, Congress had staked claim to form the government in Manipur, hours after BJP met Heptulla for the same purpose. Ibobi also met the governor at Raj Bhawan to stake claim to form the government claiming in a letter that the National People's Party (NPP) had offered support to Congress.

However, NPP leader Conrad Sangma told reporters that the letter was "fake" and that the party is supporting BJP. He added that the letter does not have the sign of the party president and that it is "not even an official letter-head."

Ibobi addressed a press conference where he said that he had requested the governor to allow Congress to form the government in the state and prove majority on the floor of the House. Singh's party is the single largest party with 28 MLAs. "I am hoping the Governor will do justice," he said.

But Heptulla told the media that she had informed Ibobi to resign immediately so that the "process of formation of the government" could begin, but "he didn't say anything and just went away." She added that BJP leaders and their supporters approached her to stake claim to form government in Manipur.

"Along with one LJP MLA, the four MLAs of NPP, one MLA from Trinamool Congress and one MLA the Congress called on me. The president of NPP spoke to me on telephone and sent the letter of support to BJP to the governor's house. I was satisfied that they have the support of 32 MLAs," she said.

Heptulla added that Ibobi met her to form the government after her meeting with the BJP-led delegation.

"After an hour the Chief Minister came to meet me with his deputy CM and party president with a letter to claim that he should be called because he is the single largest party, they also brought a letter on behalf of NPP signed by two people, secretary and the president," Heptulla said.

"When I saw that letter, I told him that he cannot bring the letter on behalf of NPP and they should personally come over here," she added.

Earlier on Sunday, Congress MLA from Andro, T Shyamkumar, quit the party and defected to BJP. He went to the Raj Bhawan with BJP leaders and assured support to BJP when they form the government in the state.

However, CM Ibobi said that no one has defected from Congress yet. Speculations are rife that over a dozen Congress MLAs might quit the party and defect to BJP because they are not in favour of Singh becoming the leader again.

Congress failed to make a mark in the Assembly elections by winning only 28 seats in the 60-seat Assembly. It won 42 seats in the 2012 elections, but failed to reach the halfway mark of 31 this year.

BJP has put on a brilliant show by winning 21 seats. The party had not won only one seat in the 2012 elections.

Four MLAs each from the Naga People's Front (NPF) and National People's Party (NPP), Karam Shyam, a legislator from the Lok Janshakti Party (LJP), and All India Trinamool Congress MLA T Robindro have offered support to BJP to form the government in the state.

With Congress rebel Kumar joining BJP as well, the number reaches 32. Meanwhile, no party has come out and offered support to Congress.