IANS | Imphal, Feb 5, 2018
The Opposition Congress staged a walk out of the Manipur Assembly on Monday in protest after Speaker Yumnam Khemchand refused to allow a discussion on provisions of the Anti-Defection Law over Congress MLA T. Shyamkumar becoming a Minister in the BJP-led government.
Congress MLA A. Mirabai, drawing the attention of the Speaker, said: “The Assembly is for the protection of the Constitution. But is it constitutional the way MLA T. Shyamkumar, elected from the Andro constituency, had crossed the floor?”
She raised a point of order on this issue. Khemchand refused to allow discussion on the issue, saying that it was not the right time.
Protesting against the ruling of the Speaker, the Opposition MLAs walked out of the Assembly.
Later, talking to reporters the Speaker said, “Monday was a busy day since the Budget was presented by Finance Minister Y. Joykumar. It was on this ground that the point of order was not allowed in the Assembly today.”
Congress MLA and MPCC president T.N. Haokip said that his party had submitted petitions to the Governor Najma Heptulla and the Speaker demanding disqualification of those eight Congress MLAs who had joined the BJP and the 12 Parliamentary secretaries.
He said, “In the second reminder to the Governor we pointed out that if suitable actions are not taken up soon regarding the disqualification of the Parliamentary secretaries, we will take recourse to legal redress.”
Manipur Chief Minister N. Biren Singh said, “All the Parliamentary Secretaries had been removed and it is not an issue now. The government had taken a decision some years ago saying that the office of the Parliamentary Secretary is not one of profit.”
A senior Congress leader said, “Whatever decision a government might have taken is nullified by the recent Supreme Court ruling. It is immaterial whether they had been removed as was shown in some states.”
In the 60-member assembly, the BJP got 21 seats in the 2017 elections, while the Congress bagged 28 seats. But the BJP joined hands with some splinter parties to stake claim for the formation of the new ministry.