The golden opportunity accessed by the BJP has been seen as a setback for JD (U), a Bihar based national political party that wanted to fight the last Manipur Assembly election on its own terms and principles.
With five of six MLAs of Janata Dal (United) in Manipur joining the ruling BJP, chief minister N Biren Singh led government has further strengthened its hold on political pragmatism in the state. The opportunity accessed by the BJP has been seen as a setback for JD (U), a party that wanted to fight the last Manipur Assembly election on its own terms and principles.
The five MLAs’ move is seen as a setback to Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar’s party who broke ties with the BJP for the second time in the last nine years.
The speaker of the Manipur Legislative Assembly had readily accepted as the bulletin part II signed by Manipur Assembly Secretary stated that the merger of five JD (U) MLAs with the BJP is valid since the number of MLAs who switched sides was greater than two thirds of the total.
The JD (U) had won six of the 38 constituencies it had contested in the assembly elections held in March this year. The MLAs who joined the BJP are Kh Joykishan, N Sanate, Md Achab Uddin, former DGP L M Khaute and Thangjam Arunkumar.
आज @BJP4India के राष्ट्रीय अध्यक्ष श्री @JPNadda जी ने JDU छोड़ भाजपा में शामिल हुए मणिपुर के ५ विधायकों का स्वागत किया।
विधायकों ने भी माननीय अध्यक्ष जी को धन्यवाद ज्ञापन किया।
मणिपुर के माननीय मुख्यमंत्री श्री @NBirenSingh जी एवं अध्यक्षा श्रीमती @AShardaDevi जी भी उपस्थित रहें pic.twitter.com/5TQ0Xs7ok7
— Sambit Patra (@sambitswaraj) September 4, 2022
BJP national president JP Nadda had also welcome the MLAs into the saffron party. “I welcome the five JDU MLAs from Manipur into the BJP family. All of you possess qualities that will greatly benefit our party. I am certain you will all serve the nation diligently as members of the BJP & play your role in the development of the country”.
Khaute and Arunkumar had previously sought to contest the assembly polls for the BJP, but joined the JD (U) after they were not given tickets to contest elections under the banner of the saffron party.
Reacting to the development in Manipur, Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar on Saturday accused the BJP of allegedly ‘poaching’ five of his six MLAs.
According to media reports, Nitish Kumar questioned the propriety and constitutionality of the alleged poaching by his former ally, the BJP. “Is it proper? Is it constitutional? Is it in line with established norms? They [BJP] are doing so everywhere. Hence all parties must unite in 2024 for a positive mandate,” the JD (U) leader is reported to have said.
Alleging horse-trading in the merger of Janta Dal United Members of Legislative Assembly(MLAs) into BJP in Manipur, Janata Dal (United) (JDU) Chief @LalanSingh_1 said yesterday that the merger was done by BJP using money power. @ndtv reports. @BJP4Manipur https://t.co/fkcIlQ7nWp
— Ratnadip Choudhury (@RatnadipC) September 4, 2022
Ningombam Bupenda Meitei, senior MPCC spokesperson while reacting to the JD (U) MLAs joining the BJP said the move is “not only unconstitutional, but the act also attracts disqualification under the Constitution of India. There will be a move to High Court to disqualify them.” According to him, these MLAs have also not only betrayed their party but also the people of their constituencies who elected them on based on JD (U)’s party ideology.
There will be a move to High Court to disqualify them.
Save Constitution, Save Democracy. pic.twitter.com/NfCftRzKtQ
— Ningombam Bupenda Meitei (@BupendaMeitei) September 2, 2022
A political observer who has been keenly following the recent development but did not wish to be identified told TFM that the issue of elected members of the Manipur Assembly indulging in party hopping is not new in the state. “There is the anti-defection law but it cannot rein in such defectors as the there is always a way to bend the rule based on the same law. Politicians have found and will always find loopholes in the Schedule X of the Constitution”. He opined that elected representatives often resort to unprincipled defection and crass opportunism. “The present anti-defection law and it needs to be drastically amended”, he added.
“All along we knew that most of these MLAs were hankering not only to join the BJP but also grab BJP tickets so as to contest the last Manipur Assembly election. They opted for JD (U) with the desperate hope to be part of a coalition in case the BJP could not muster enough numbers to form a government in the post-poll scenario. However, with the BJP securing a landslide victory, those who were elected on JD (U) could not be part of the BJP government. They ended up supporting the N Biren Singh led government. All that I can say is that these MLAs seem to be still thinking of accessing bigger personal opportunities”, observed Th Khamba, a part time auto-rickshaw driver who had been enthusiastically following the development on social media.