IMPHAL: Senior Congress leader and former Manipur chief minister O Ibobi Singh on Monday said that defectors should be taught a lesson for disrespecting the people’s mandate. “For upholding democracy, people must teach a lesson to them (defectors) by staying away from them,” the opposition leader said.
Ibobi Singh was referring to the Congress MLAs who have defected to BJP, some of them after resigning from being members of the state Assembly.
“They made mockery of democracy by disrespecting the five year mandate given by the people during the elections. They mocked at democracy only for their personal gain”, he said.
The former three time chief minister of the state was speaking at a simple function held at Imphal Congress Bhavan in Imphal to felicitate the joining of a successful entrepreneur to the party.
Arunkumar Thangjam from Chingmeirong in Imphal East, who is the proprietor of Arun Enterprises joined the Congress on Monday. He is likely to contest the forthcoming by-election in the Wangkhei assembly constituency. The seat of the Assembly constituency is lying vacant after Congress MLA O Henry, a nephew of Ibobi Singh, resigned and joined the BJP recently. Henry was among six Congress MLAs who resigned from the state Assembly on August 10 last. Five of them had joined the BJP.
Meanwhile, the by-elections to six Assembly constituencies are likely to be held with seven other seats currently lying vacant in the state Assembly. Of the seven seats, three were vacated by ruling BJP MLAs while the rest four were disqualified by the Speaker.
Ibobi Singh then expressed disappointment when some of the Congress MLAs had left the party “for their personal gain” and said that “If we the 28 Congress MLAs had remained united then the Congress might have been able to form a stable government in the state.
Mention may be made that the Congress party had won 28 seats in the 60-member Manipur Legislative Assembly in 2017. However, its effective strength was reduced to 17 after some MLAs had defected and one (RK Imo) was expelled from the party for six years for his alleged anti party activities recently.
Meanwhile, Manipur Pradesh Congress Committee (MPCC) president M Okendro, who also spoke on the occasion, expressed confidence that the Congress party will return to power in the state again. He also expressed hope that people will teach lessons to the defectors during the forthcoming by-elections.