Guwahati: The BJP and the Congress are keeping their cards close to the chest ahead of the crucial trust vote in Manipur, scheduled for March 20. While 17 of the BJP's 21 newly elected legislators are camping at a posh hotel in Assam's Guwahati, the Congress has sheltered its 27 MLAs in the house of one of its legislators in Imphal.
"We have kept our legislators in Guwahati in response to the Congress keeping their MLAs in a house in Imphal. Our legislators thought we must also stand united," said Himanta Biswa Sarma, BJP's key strategist for Manipur.
No party received a single majority in the 2017 Manipur assembly election. The Congress, which had ruled the state for 15 consecutive years, emerged as a single largest party with 28 of the total 60 seats. The BJP came second with 21 seats. A party needs a minimum support of 31 legislators to form a government.
The BJP claims to have the support of 33 legislators with the support of the NPP, NPF, LJP, an independent legislator, the lone Trinamool Congress MLA and a defector from the Congress Shyam Kumar - who took oath as a minister in the N Biren Singh government.
Speaking to NDTV, Trinamool Congress legislator Robindro Singh said the party gave him full freedom to support the BJP.
"I spoke to (senior TMC leader) Mukul Roy. They left it to me. They said if you can do well by supporting the BJP, then you can take your own call," he said.
While the Congress comfortably won in Punjab, it was decimated by the BJP in Uttarakhand in Uttar Pradesh. It also failed to form a government in Goa despite emerging as the single largest party. Ahead of the crucial trust vote in Manipur, the party is non-committal on the trust vote and even the media is kept away from the legislators.