ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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BJP Snatches Victory from Defeat in Manipur

Even if it has scored convincingly in the short run, there is no guarantee that the new government’s problems are over. It will have to keep its own members of legislative assembly happy when a majority of the cabinet ministers are from the smaller parties that are supporting it.

(This article was earlier posted in the Web Exclusives section of EPW website.)

It was a case of virtual hijack of victory out of what seemed to be certain defeat for the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in Manipur. In the two phase assembly elections on 4 and 8 March, the party won just 21 seats to come a distant second to the Congress which won 28 seats in a house of 60 seats. However, as the incumbent party it used its superior clout and manipulated a thin majority to get an invitation to form the next government by the state governor Najma Heptulla. It is a point of dispute whether not inviting the single largest party first to form the government in a hung assembly amounts to breaking a constitutional norm. Eminent jurist Fali S Nariman definitely thinks so.

Belying all exit polls, most of which predicted a clear BJP victory in Manipur, the Congress returned in 28 seats to become the single largest party while the BJP trailed with 21 seats. The remaining 11 seats were lapped up by the smaller parties like the Meghalaya-based National Peoples Party (NPP) founded by former Lok Sabha Speaker Purno Agitok Sangma and now run by his son Conrad Sangma. The NPP won four seats, the Nagaland-based Naga Peoples Front (NPF) won four seats, Ram Vilas Paswans Lok Janshakti Party (LJP), Mamata Banerjees All India Trinamool Congress and an independent candidate all won one seat each.

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Published On : 20th Jan, 2024

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