Imphal: The opposition Congress in Manipur on Thursday served a notice for the removal of Speaker Y Khemchand as the party emerged stronger after the rebellion of nine MLAs of the ruling BJP-led coalition.
Congress MLA K Meghachandra submitted the notice to the Secretary of the Manipur Legislative Assembly under Article 179 (c) of the Constitution.
Article 179(c) provides that a Speaker (or Deputy Speaker) may be removed from his office by a resolution of the Assembly passed by a majority of all the then members of the Assembly.
Meghachandra said that the move was necessitated as the Speaker has “conducted himself in a manner unbecoming of the position held by him and actions” that are “unconstitutional and illegal”.
Claiming the support of 10 members including former Deputy Chief Minister Y Joykumar Singh of the NPP, Meghachandra urged for the acceptance of the notice.
He said the next date for proceedings regarding the disqualification of seven Congress MLAs was fixed by the Speaker on June 22.
However, by a communication released on social media at 11 pm on Wednesday, it was preponed to June 18 without reasonable cause or explanation, he alleged.
The speaker “has conducted in an authoritarian manner which is opposed to well established practice and procedures of the House”, Meghachandra alleged.
The seven Congress MLAs, who had crossed over to the BJP, are facing anti-defection cases under the 10th Schedule of the Indian Constitution in the Speaker’s Tribunal as well as in the High Court of Manipur.
The Speaker is a second-term BJP MLA.
Four ministers, including the deputy chief minister, quit the BJP-led N Biren Singh government on Wednesday. Tribal and Hills Area Development Minister N Kayishii, Youth Affairs and Sports Minister Letpao Haokip, and Health and Family Welfare Minister L Jayanta Kumar Singh resigned.
Besides, BJP MLAs S Subhashchandra Singh, TT Haokip and Samuel Jendai resigned from the assembly and the party, following which the Congress claimed they have switched over. Further, the state’s lone Trinamool Congress MLA T Robindro and Independent Shahabuddin withdrew support from the government.
The total strength against the chief minister is now 29 — 20 from Congress, 4 from NPP, 3 from BJP (who quit on Wednesday), one from TMC and an Independent.
The figure in support of Biren Singh stood at 23, including 18 BJP MLAs, four of Naga People’s Front (NPF) and one MLA from LJP.
One Congress MLA who joined the BJP-led government was disqualified from the membership of Manipur Legislative Assembly recently, reducing the strength of the house to 59. Assembly election in Manipur was held in 2017.