Dissident Manipur Congress MLAs to intensify campaign

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New Delhi, Nov 8 (UNI) Dissident Manipur Congress MLAs, camping in the Capital, today threatened to initiate action if their demand for a change in leadership in the state was not met.

The dissident group is demanding that Chief Minister Ibobi Singh be replaced by State Congress President Gaikhangam and has set November 15 as the deadline.

The 16 dissident MLAs, including two Cabinet Ministers of the Ibobi Singh Government will be meeting Minister of State in the Prime Minister's Office and in-charge of Manipur Affairs Prithvi Raj Chauhan again to reiterate their demand.

Sources told UNI that the delegation would apprise the party high command that the continuation of Mr Singh as Chief Minister would not only weaken the party's position in the state, but would also alienate it from the people.

The law and order situation in the State has gone from bad to worse with killings in broad daylight and bomb blasts becoming the order of the day, the dissidents claim.

The situation has become so bad that on the day of "Ningol Chakouba"- one of the biggest State festivals of Manipur, the majority of shops remained closed as they are owned by " outsiders".

The dissidents have also urged the Government to ensure that during festivals, adequate security should be provided so that these commercial establishments can cater to the needs of locals.

They also alleged that projects sanctioned by the Centre were not being carried out while some of the projects which had started, were stopped mid way.

The ruling Secular Progressive Front (SPF) comprises 30 Congress, four Communist Party of India (CPI) and three Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) MLAs in the 60-member Assembly.

According to sources, 18 out of the 30 members of the Congress are now camping here to dislodge the chief minister.

The group was initially campaigning here at the Manipur Bhawan but with the sudden arrival of the State Chief Minister at the national capital, they have gone into hiding.

Mr Gaikhangam, who was also a Cabinet Minister in the Ibobi Singh Cabine, had resigned from his portfolio as he was reportedly dissatisfied with his ministerial slot.

Meanwhile, Mr Singh, sensing the crisis looming large over his Government, has sent three of his close lieutenants to Delhi namely N Biren, K Ranjit and N Loken for negotiations and to persuade the dissidents to return to the party fold.

Both the camps had earlier met Mr Chauhan to place their point of view and said, if required, they could have a round table with Congress President Sonia Gandhi to sort the matter at the earliest.

The chief minister's loyalist group is also expected to meet Mr Chauhan again in a day or two to reach an amicable settlement, sources added.


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