Speaker accepts resignation of six Congress MLAs

IMPHAL, 11th Aug: Manipur Legislative Assembly speaker Y Khemchand on Tuesday accepted the resignation of six Congress MLAs, who had submitted the same on Monday.
Subsequently, the Speaker has also issued a notification, announcing vacancy of the Assembly seats of the respective constituencies from where the six MLAs were elected.
The Speaker accepted the resignation letters after summoning the six MLAs and obtaining a confirmation on their decisions on Monday.
As per the different notifications issued by Manipur Legislative Assembly secretary M Ramani on Tuesday in this regard, the resignation letters of Okram Henry (Wangkhei AC), Oinam Lukhoi Singh (Wangoi), Md Abdul Nasir (Lilong), Ngamthang Haokip (Saitu) and Ginsunhau (Singhat AC) have been accepted by the Speaker and accordingly their respective Assembly Constituencies (ACs) were announced to be lying vacant with effect from Tuesday noon.
Following the resignation of the six INC MLAs, around 12 ACs out of the total 60 seats in the state Assembly have become vacant.
Earlier, ex-forest minister Th Shyamkumar, who won the 11th Manipur Legislative Assembly election on INC ticket but left the party and extended his support to BJP, was made a minister in the BJP-led coalition government. However, he was disqualified as an MLA in March this year.
On June 17, three BJP MLAs, namely Samuel Jendai (Tamenglong), TT Haokip (Henglep) and S Subhashchandra (Naoriya Pakhanglakpa) submitted their resignation letters. A notification by the Legislative Assembly secretary declared their respective seats vacant. However, the three MLAs filed an appeal to the High Court of Manipur for reappointing them to their respective seats.
Later, on June 18, a day before the Rajya Sabha election on June 19, three INC MLAs, namely S Bira Singh (Kumbi), Y Surchandra Singh (Kakching) and Ksh Biren Singh (Lamlai), who had defected to BJP but re-joined INC, were disqualified by the Speaker and their seats were declared vacant. It may be noted here that Thanga AC MLA T Robindro, who had won on TMC ticket, was also disqualified by the Speaker on June 18. However, he too challenged the disqualification in the Court and the Court stayed the disqualification, allowing him to attend the Assembly session on Monday as an MLA.
According to section 151A of the Representation of The Peoples Act, 1951, "a by-election for filling any vacancy referred to in any of the specified sections shall be held within a period of six months from the date of the occurrence of the vacancy, provided that nothing contained in this section shall apply if (a) the remainder of the term of a member in relation to a vacancy is less than one year; or (b) the Election Commission in consultation with the Central or state Government certifies that it is difficult to hold the by-election within the said period".
In Manipur's context, after Th Shyamkumar was disqualified in March and the vacancy was announced, the by-election to the said constituency should be conducted before September. However, owing to the Covid-19 pandemic, the Election Commission of India (ECI) has postponed all by-elections scheduled in September.
Amid this, ECI directed the Chief Electoral Officer Manipur to collect all EVM and VVPAT machines required for the by-elections from Assam. As such, the machines were collected and distributed to the districts that will be taking part in the by-elections. If the Court were to provide definite judgements on some of the related pending cases, it would help in ascertaining the exact number of by-elections to be conducted and in deciding the election dates for some of the constituencies.
With the announcement that 13 seats are lying vacant out of the total 60 seats in Manipur Legislative Assembly, the House is functioning with only 47 seats, of which 29 MLAs are in support of the BJP-led government. Of these, 18 are BJP MLAs (originally 21 BJP candidates had won), 4 NPP, 4 NPF, 1 LJP, 1 TMC and 1 independent. On the other hand, the total number of MLAs now left in the INC camp is 18, of which two were unable to attend Monday's Assembly session while adhering to Covid-19 protocols.

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