The Manipur Assembly elections are over with no clear-cut winner. There seems to be no option other than a hung Assembly in the state. Under these circumstances, the Congress has alleged that the BJP has "abducted" the sole independent MLA to show strength and form government.
Meanwhile, there are reports that the BJP has sought an appointment with Manipur Governor Najma Heptulla, in a possible bid to stake claim for government formation. Heptulla, it may be noted, was a BJP leader and a member of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Cabinet before she became Manipur governor.
Currently, the Congress has 28 seats, the BJP has 21 seats, the Naga Peoples Front (NPF) and the National People's Party (NPP) have four seats each, while the Trinamool Congress and the Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) have one seat each — not counting the independent candidate — in the 60-member Assembly where a party or a coalition needs 31 seats to form government.
Congress spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala has now taken to Twitter to accuse the BJP of abducting the aforementioned independent MLA. He said in the first of his tweets: "BJP now misusing CISF & Airport authorities to detain & abduct Independent MLA, Asabuddin at Imphal, Airport and take him to Calcutta. [sic]"
He went on to add in the second tweet: "ModiGovt is playing a dangerous game of subverting democracy & abducting MLA's by misusing CISF at Imphal Airport despite electoral loss. [sic]." He said in the third tweet: "3/n Independent MLA,Asabuddin is travelling with Minister, Sh. Nasir. Federalism & rule of law being murdered in broad daylight by ModiGovt. [sic]"
More such tactics to come?
Tamil Nadu and Nagaland recently witnessed similar cases of MLAs being kept isolated by political parties to parade them in front of the governor as a show of strength. And the Congress has every reason to be wary of such politics in Manipur, where it needs the support of just three more MLAs to form government, while the BJP needs 10 more.
And now, with the BJP seeking to meet Manipur Governor Najma Heptulla, it seems the saffron party has enough people to stake claim for government formation.