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Petitions for axing MLAs

Imphal, July 27: The fate of five Trinamul Congress MLAs hangs in the balance as the Speaker has accepted petitions seeking their disqualifications.

Party president Th. Shyamkumar Singh who is also an MLA, submitted separate petitions on different dates beginning June 26 to Speaker Th. Lokeshwar Singh seeking disqualification of the five MLAs on charges that they had abandoned their original party and formed a separate one.

The MLAs are Kh. Joikisan Singh, Th. Biswajit Singh, O. Lukhoi Singh, Konthoujam Sarat Singh and M. Kunjo Singh.

The Speaker is yet to serve showcause notices to the five members. Sources indicated that the Speaker would serve the notices after the ongoing Assembly session, which concludes tomorrow.

Seven members of Trinamul Congress were elected in the 2012 Assembly elections.

The move for disqualification of the members is the fall out of factionalism within the Manipur Trinamul Congress, which surfaced immediately after the 2014 Lok Sabha elections were over.

In May, Joikisan Singh announced that he was elected the new president of the party replacing Kim Gangte by the executive committee and that the election was subsequently endorsed by a general body meeting.

A few days after the announcement, Shyamkumar Singh, claiming he was the new party president by party general secretary Mukul Roy, expelled Joikisan, Biswajit and Lukhoi from the party and issued showcause notices to Sarat, Kunjo and Irengbam Ibohalbi Singh for “anti-party” activities. The Joikisan faction retaliated by expelling Shyamkumar for six years from the party. However, Ibohalbi Singh is now in the Shyamkumar camp.

Shyamkumar moved the disqualification petition after five of the members claimed that their party was not associated with the All India Trinamul Congress led by Mamata Banerjee.

The Joikisan faction used the name of its party the Manipur Pradesh Trinamul Congress (MPTC).

Joikisan and his team repeatedly claimed that the MPTC was not a unit of Trinamul but it used the symbol and name of the Trinamul in the Assembly elections following an understanding with the Bengal party. “Ours is a regional party based in Manipur,” Joikisan said.

Shyamkumar, in his petitions, said the five were elected on the Trinamul tickets and the results declared by the Election Commission of India listed them as members affiliated to the Trinamul.

“Kh. Joikisan Singh and the (four) others have voluntarily abandoned their original party and formed a new party by causing a split from the original party under the name and style of Manipur Pradesh Trinamul Congress,” he said.

The Trinamul is a registered political party with the Election Commission while the MPTC is yet to be registered, he added.

The petition mentioned that it was known that this kind of split and formation of a new party would attract disqualification under the 10th Schedule of the Constitution and also relevant provision of the Manipur Assembly.