The incumbent Congress, which has ruled the state for 15 years under Chief Minister Okram Ibobi Singh, emerged as the single largest party winning 28 of the state's 60 seats. But it was stopped short of the majority mark of 31 - required to form the government - by the BJP, which has delivered its best ever performance in the state winning 21 seats.
Both the parties have staked claim to form the government. The decision now lies with the Governor who can invite either of the parties to prove their majority.
"The Chief Minister has staked claim and we are the single largest party and governor should invite us," Deputy Chief Minister G Gaikhangam said to NDTV.
But the BJP has claimed that it has stitched together the support of 32 legislators. Party representatives reportedly also met the Governor on Sunday
"We have letters of 30 MLAs and the 31st will send a letter to the Governor," said Himanta Biswa Sarma, a former Congressman who joined the BJP and has been fronting the party's efforts to win states in the north-east.
The National People's Party (NPP), founded by former Lok Sabha speaker PA Sangma, is emerging as the kingmaker with four seats, which is yet to pick between the BJP and the Congress.
The Congress on Sunday accused the BJP of "playing a dangerous game of subverting democracy." It alleged the BJP has "abducted" an independent legislator, Ashab Uddin, who represents Jiribam. He was taken into custody by the airport security at Imphal along with Congress leader Mohammad Nadir. Sources said the two leaders are facing life threats and have decided to fly to Delhi.
Former finance minister and the senior Congress leader P Chidambaram today said the BJP was "stealing elections in Goa, Manipur".
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