Kolkata: The N. Biren Singh-led Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government in Manipur won the confidence motion by a voice vote on Monday in a major embarrassment for the Opposition Congress whose eight legislators abstained from voting defying whip.
The trust vote was moved by the Chief Minister to counter the Congress’s decision to move a no-confidence motion against his government for not heeding to its demand to hand over a drug smuggling case involving a former BJP leader Lukhosei Zou to the CBI.
A senior police officer investigating the case, T. Bindra had alleged that the Chief Minister had put pressure on her to release the prime accused. The startling allegation, as expected, created a political uproar, prompting the Congress to give a notice to the Assembly secretariat on Friday seeking to move a no-confidence motion against the BJP-led coalition government.
The party chief whip K Govindas in a three-line whip had urged all the 24 legislators of the party to be present during the session and take part in discussion and voting as per the directive of the Manipur Pradesh Congress Committee.
However, during the voting eight Congress legislators were not present.
The 60-member House now has a strength of 53 after four members were disqualified under the anti-defection law and three BJP MLAs resigned. The Congress has 24 MLAs and the NDA coalition, including Speaker Y Khemchand, has 29 members – 18 from the BJP, four each from the National People’s Party (NPP) and the Naga People’s Front (NPF), one each from Trinamool Congress and Lok Janshakti Party and an Independent MLA.
In the voice vote 28 members supported the confidence motion, 16 opposed it while 8 abstained from voting.
The winning of trust vote capped over a month-long political drama in the hill state, which started on June 17 when nine MLAs of the ruling coalition, including three BJP legislators, had withdrawn their support to the government.
The three BJP legislators had resigned from the assembly and joined the Congress. The other six MLAs – 4 from the (NPP), and one each from Trinamool Congress (TMC) and Independent – had later changed their mind and returned to the ruling conglomerate.