Outgoing Manipur Chief Minister O Ibobi Singh resigned today after Governor Najma Heptullah said she could not start the process of government formation in the state that has got a hung Assembly, till he quits.
Earlier in the day, N Biren Singh was elected unanimously as the leader of the BJP Legislature Party in Manipur after which he met Governor Najma Heptulla to stake claim to form the next government.
Incumbent Chief Minister O Ibobi Singh had already staked claim last night.
Sources said Biren met the governor at the Raj Bhavan.
“N Biren Singh has been unanimously elected leader of the BJP Legislature Party. He is the party’s chief ministerial candidate,” Union minister Piyush Goel told reporters.
Goel said they enjoyed the support of smaller parties.
As per rules, until the present chief minister resigns, the process of government formation cannot be started, said a highly-placed Raj Bhavan source.
Singh, who has been serving as chief minister for 15 years since 2002, was elected as leader of the Congress Legislature Party (CLP) yesterday and had staked claim to form the government late last night.
In his meeting with Heptulla on Sunday night, Ibobi had flaunted a list of 28 Congress legislators. He also claimed to have the support of four National People’s Party MLAs. Deputy Chief Minister Gaikhangam and state Congress president T N Haokip had accompanied him to the Raj Bhavan.
The Raj Bhavan source said, “On seeing the names of the four NPP MLAs on an ordinary piece of paper, Heptullah asked Ibobi to bring the NPP president and the MLAs.”
The Governor said it was her duty to cross check claims and counter-claims and that she would not accept an ordinary piece of paper as the “letter of support” unless she meets the NPP MLAs, the source said.
Ibobi Singh, however, argued that with the Congress emerging as the single largest party, he should be given the first opportunity to form the government.
“I am ready for a floor test and I have the numbers with me,” said Singh.
The BJP leadership with their 21 MLAs had met the Governor on Monday along with NPP president and the four MLAS of his party and the lone LJP and TMC MLAs, besides one of the Congress.
The BJP has claimed it enjoyed the support of 32 MLAs in the 60-member assembly.
They also submitted a letter from the Naga People’s Front (NPF) president pledging their support to the BJP to form the government, the source said.
The Congress has won 28 seats in Manipur while the BJP has secured 21. The NPP and the NPF have won four seats each, with the LJP and the Trinamool Congress bagging one seat each.