O Ibobi elected CLP chief 'unanimously’
SPF list of 33 MLAs given to Marwah

Source: The Sangai Express

Imphal, February 27: Manipur Pradesh Congress Committee (I) president Okram Ibobi Singh has been elected "unanimously" the leader of the Congress Legislature Party in a meeting of the newly elected party legislators this morning.

Ibobi's name was proposed by Th Devendra and seconded by Phungzathang Tonsing, former MPCC (I) president.

AICC observers Pranab Mukherjee, Mani Shanker Aiyer and Imran Kidwai were also present during the election.

Of the 19 elected members, 17 were physically present during the election of Ibobi.

Congress with 19 MLAs is now heading a four party Secular Progressive Front (SPF) constituted yesterday with Rishang Keishing as the convenor.

The other partners are the MSCP (6), CPI (5) and NCP (3).The Front has strength of 33 members in a House of 60 members.

A delegation of presidents and leaders of the constituent partners including Ibobi, MPs Th Chaoba, Holkhomang Haokip, and W Angou and CPI leader Parijat called on the Governor to brief him of the latest political development.

The delegation also submitted a list of 33 members in the Front to the Governor.

The Governor Ved Marwah is understood to have told the delegation that the process for Government formation would be initiated after the election process is over tomorrow.

Pranab Mukherjee expressed the hope that the Governor will invite the SPF, which has a "clear majority" to form the next Government.

Pranab said the Front will welcome other secular parties.

"They (parties) will have to prove their secular credentials.

We will welcome only secular parties and will not accept individuals," he emphasized.

In response to a question Pranab hinted that the Front will be staking the claim, although the process for Government formation will be initiated after the entire election process is over.

He further said a coordination committee of the Front will work out the common minimum programme in the next few days.

Replying to another question the AICC observer said the size of the Ministry would be small, but it will be "efficient." Mani Shanker termed the effort by the BJP to form the Government as shameful.

“It is shameful that the BJP is talking of forming the Government with only 4 members," he said.

Stating that the results of the elections in four States have shown that people have reposed faith in the leadership of Sonia Gandhi, Pranab said that the mood of the electorate should be appreciated.

When asked about the post of Deputy Chief Minister in a SPF coalition Government he said it will have to be worked out later.

The observer further said the first priority of the Government would be the safeguarding of the territorial integrity of Manipur.

Restoration of peace and normalcy, good governance and development are also high on the priority list of the SPF, Pranab added.

When asked how seriously the Congress (I) take the Senapati Declaration signed by 47 Naga candidates before the election pledging to work for Naga cause Aiyer said they signed the declaration "under duress." "Now some of the candidates have won the election.

Now let's see how they (Naga MLAs) function," Pranab added.

The two observers reiterated that there would be no room for defection in the Front.

"The Front is not going to encourage defection in any way.

We opposed defection because all the parties and Manipur have become victims of defection.