Cong cracking the PS whip Date with March 13

More than evident that the clarification or claim of Chief Minister N Biren Singh failed to convince the Congress and this is the reason why it has filed a petition at the High Court of Manipur against the Parliamentary Secretary Act. The Chief Minister had earlier claimed that all the Parliamentary Secretaries had resigned. Remains to be seen how the High Court of Manipur will proceed with the case, but significant to note that it has already fixed March 13 as the next date of hearing. So the next hearing will be held just two days before the BJP led Government completes one full year in office and depending on the outcome of the next hearing, the State Government will observe its first one year in office. It was back in 2016 that the Supreme Court had ruled that appointment of Parliamentary Secretaries is unconstitutional and remember the 12 MLAs in Manipur were appointed as Parliamentary Secretaries on March 23 last year, a little over a month after the BJP led Government assumed office. Even as the Chief Minister has maintained that all the Parliamentary Secretaries have resigned, the Congress is yet to buy the story and it still does not answer the question of whether the 12 Parliamentary Secretaries held an ‘office of profit’ under the Government, something which legislators are barred from holding. Apparently the Government will have to answer the question of whether the 12 Parliamentary Secretaries held office of profit or not and it remains to be seen how the High Court will buy the story of the Government. Junior Ministers or rank equivalent to Minister of State, this is the tag that goes along with Parliamentary Secretaries and it is along this line that the Congress has petitioned the High Court of Manipur.
Their appointment also violates the numerical cap on the size of the Ministry is the line that the Congress will bank on, for remember the Ministry size of the State Assembly has been fixed at 12. This is perhaps the first hurdle that has come on the way of the BJP led Government and this sure can be a dampener on the feel good moves it has initiated ever since it came to power last year, after striking deals with different political parties, such as the NNP, NPF and some MLAs from other political parties. Another see saw battle will also be witnessed for sure if and when the Congress seeks the disqualification of some MLAs who had switched sides to the BJP front after being elected as Congress candidates. To be sure the disqualification of 20 AAP MLAs under the office of profit clause must have given the needed push to the Congress here to seek the disqualification of the 12 Parliamentary Secretaries and yes interesting days are certainly ahead, especially in the run up to March 13, the date scheduled by the High Court of Manipur for the next hearing of the case. The question is, if the 12 MLAs are disqualified, will Manipur see another round of bye elections ? And does Manipur need this at this point of time when the political negotiation between the NSCN (IM) and the Centre is at its final stage ?

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