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Standoff continues between Manipur CM, Speaker

IMPHAL, NOV. 25. The 11-day-old standoff between the Manipur Chief Minister, Mr. W. Nipamacha Singh, and the Speaker, Mr. S. Dhananjay Singh, remained unsolved as the Opposition today decided to appeal against the court order staying the disqualification of a Minister.

Sources in the Opposition said a team of lawyers had left for Guwahati to challenge the judgment staying the Speaker's order disqualifying the Horticulture Minister, Mr. T. Kigpen, from membership of the House under the Anti-defection law.

On November 23, Mr. Justice A.K. Patnaik of the Guwahati High Court, had stayed the disqualification order saying Mr. Kipgen would continue to function as an MLA and participate and vote in the House. Meanwhile, the Governor, Mr. Ved Prakash Marwah, went to Delhi on Friday to brief the Union Home Minister, Mr. L.K. Advani, about the present political stalemate in the State.

The 10-month-old Nipamacha Government is facing a serious crisis after the Speaker criticised him for his alleged failure ``on all fronts'' on November 15 and subsequently dismissed Mr. Kigpen. Cases of eight other legislators are still pending with the Speaker with the winter session of the Assembly beginning on December 1.

In retaliation, the ruling United Legislature Front has decided to remove the Speaker through a no-confidence motion. The Chief Minister has also decided to move a confidence motion after the Guwahati High Court order came in favour of his camp.

Meanwhile, Assembly secretariat sources said the Business Advisory Committee at its meeting on November 23 failed to decide the date to discuss the proposed no-confidence motion and would meet again during lunch break on December 4.

So far, only the notice of no-confidence against the Speaker signed by 36 ruling front members had been received, the sources said. The notification for the motion of confidence by Mr. Nimamacha Singh was yet to be received, they added.

Bandh hits life

Meanwhile, normal life was crippled in Manipur today in the wake of a 12-hour State-wide bandh called by a local organisation to protest against the killing of one person allegedly by police commandos. Reports from districts said markets, shops and business establishments were closed and vehicles were off the road.

However, the Government had already declared the day as holiday to finalise the revision of electoral rolls in the State, official sources said.

- PTI

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