Congress infighting for ouster of CM intensifies in Manipur

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Imphal, Jan 28 (UNI) Ahead of Manipur assembly's budget seesion, the crisis in ruling Congress took a new dimension as party chief Mr Gaikhangan threw his weight on the dissdents' side demanding ouster of Chief Minister O Ibobi Singh.

The majority of 31 Congress legislators in the 60-member house divided in two camps are now camping in New Delhi and wooing AICC president, Sonia Gandhi, to prevail upon faction ridden party and save the government.

The dissident Congress MLAs and the Chief Minster, O Ibobi Singh, are both claiming to have support of at least eighteen legislators on their side.

The infighting in the party took a new turn as party's Manipur unit president Mr Gaikhangam was also reportedly backing the rebels, claimed a party source today.

The rebels headed by Law and Legislative Affairs Minister Th Debendra wanted immediate change of guard claiming that Mr Singh had failed to control the law and order situation.

Mr Ibobi Singh, after serving the state as Chief Minister for a full-five-year term retained the power for the second term after the the February 2007 election, was now facing an unprecetended rebellion from the party legislators.

The rebels had appointed Law and Legislative Affairs Minister Th Debendra as their leader. However, Mr Debendra had refused to take a flight to New Delhi for now and preferred to stay at his constituency at Jiribam.

The rebels had reqeusted Mr Debendra to fly to New Delhi immediately.

The rebel Congress MLAs were not happy with the refusal of Th Debendra to come to Delhi. They were claiming that Mr Debendra had supported their move for ouster of Mr Ibobi Singh.

The Chief Minister was also planning to go to Jiribam by a special helicopter, party sources said.

With the Budget session scheduled to begin from February 1, the fluid political situation within the Congress party was of concern for functioning of the crucial assembly session, said some political observers.

Another report said that the Chief Minister had reportedly proposed the name of Elangbam Kunjeshore, Congress MLA of Yaiskul Assembly constituency, to succeed his post in the government, another party source said.

NCP President Radhabinod Koijam had also called upon the Congress party to resolve the crisis in the interest of the state. Taking a dig at the infighting, Mr Koijam said the ministers were not concerned about the governance as they were busy in the internal politics which has been going on for the last three months.


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