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Tussle for chief’s post intensifies

- 3 Trinamul leaders claim to be president

Imphal, Aug. 24: The fight for leadership in the Manipur unit of the Trinamul Congress has intensified with three leaders, each claiming to be president, moving the Assembly Speaker to disqualify each other

Three “presidents” in the four-year-old party are seeking disqualification of all the six MLAs.

At least three disqualification cases are pending before the tribunal of the Assembly presided by Speaker Th. Lokeshwar Singh.

The first petition was filed in June by MLA Th. Shyamkumar Singh, who claimed to be the president seeking disqualification of Kh. Joykishan Singh, Th. Biswajit Singh, O. Lukhoi Singh, Konthoujam Sarat Singh and M. Kunjo Singh for anti-party activities. Kunjo Singh died on August 11.

In July, Kim Gangte, who is the president when Manipur unit was opened in 2010, submitted a petition to the Speaker seeking disqualification of Ibohalbi Singh for anti-party activities. The tribunal fixed September 17 as the date for hearing of the petitions filed by Shyamkumar Singh and Gangte.

However, the Speaker yesterday received another petition, this time from Joykishan Singh, who seeks disqualification of Shyamkumar for anti-party activities.

The Manipur unit of the Trinamul was opened in 2010 with the appointment of Gangte, a former Lok Sabha MP as the state president. The party opened its account in the Konthoujam Assembly constituency byelection in February 2011.

After that no presidential election was held in the state.

During the 2012 Assembly polls, Trinamul chief and Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee campaigned in Manipur for her party, leading to the election of seven MLAs.

Differences among the MLAs and between the legislature and organisation surfaced after the Assembly elections.

The differences reached a flash point after the defeat of the party candidates in the Outer Manipur and Inner Manipur Lok Sabha seats during the general elections.

Ibohalbi Singh attended an election campaign meeting for JD (U) candidate in the Outer Manipur seat though Gangte was contesting from the same seat. Ibohalbi Singh’s conduct did not go down well with Gangte.

A free for all within the party began in May when Joykishan announced that he was elected president by the executive committee and general body of the party.

A few days later, Shyamkumar claimed that he was appointed the new party president by Trinamul leader Mukul Roy.

When chief minister Okram Ibobi Singh convened an all-party meet earlier this month to discuss theinner line permit (ILP), which is rocking the state, the Trinamul group led by Shyamkumar Singh was invited to the meet, apparently giving recognition to his group.

Though the state unit has been rocked with factionalism for the past five months, Mamata Banerjee did not send any leader to Imphal to resolve the issue.


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