Speculation over dissension brewing in the N Biren Singh government in Manipur grew as a group of Bharatiya Janata Party MLAs are in Delhi to meet central leaders, with a senior party functionary from the state stressing that complaining or taking a dispute to the leadership did not tantamount to indiscipline.
However, a central BJP leader downplayed the development and ruled out any changes in the state government, noting that tussle between different interest groups has been a feature of Manipur politics.
Issues related to demographic and regional grievances are also used by some for political reasons, he said.
State party officials have confirmed that at least four BJP MLAs from Manipur valley are in Delhi to meet central leaders.
An unconfirmed number of party MLAs from the Kuki tribe are also believed to be camping in the national capital.
Uripok MLA Khwairakpam Raghumani, who is among the MLAs from Manipur valley camping in Delhi, posted a picture on Facebook of a meeting with Union Minister of State for DONER B L Verma.
'They (Thokchom Radheshyam Singh, Karam Shyam, Paonam Brojen and Raghumani) discussed the border and developmental issues of Manipur,' the post said.
Another BJP MLA, R K Imo Singh, on his official Facebook account said, 'We all are bound by a particular ideology/constitution of the political party we belong to. As Legislators, we have a bounded duty to work as per the programmes and decision of that government/party. One may complain and take the dispute against the leader of the govt/party/minister to the appropriate authority, but not take that dispute to the media as that amounts to attract disciplinary action being taken up against the complainant.'
The trip to Delhi to meet national leaders came a day after BJP MLA Karam Shyam of Langthabal constituency tendered his resignation on Monday from the chairmanship of Tourism Corporation Manipur Limited complaining that he had 'not been assigned any responsibility'.
On April 8, BJP MLA Thokchom Radheshyaam of Heirok constituency had resigned from the post of advisor to the chief minister citing similar grievance.
Another party source told PTI, "The trip is not official but we believe they too went to meet some leaders to express their grievances."
While the dissent of the valley MLAs are generally understood as rising out of personal frustration, that of the Kuki MLAs is more complex as it involves government policies which, Kuki observers believe targets their community.
Paolienlal Haokip, a Kuki MLA from Saikot in Kuki majority Churachandpur, had recently expressed dissent over the government policies related to eviction of Kuki villagers from reserved forest areas.
He had added that the state needs a 'proper settlement policy for both the Hills and the Valley, not erratic, whimsical and targetted evictions. Matters of policy needs to be discussed within the cabinet and the Assembly, not at the whims and fancies of one person'.
Haokip also raised question's over 'the government's role to bring peace and harmony between communities living within the state' and sought to know whether entire communities were being demonised.
Some powerful Kuki groups are demanding solution to the Kuki political problem, including greater power for Hills people and a separate administration.
The Kuki tribe is represented by 10 MLAs in the assembly of whom seven are from BJP.
Some party leaders are of the view the Kuki's grievances are also borne out of vetting process put in place by the chief minister following the suspected influx of people from Myanmar.
Demographic concerns can be a political and social flash point in the state and the BJP after coming to power there in 2016 has done a lot to address these issues and also regional disparity, they sad.
The state government, they added, has done a lot to address the grievances of hill residents, who overwhelmingly comprise of Kuki and Naga tribes.
The government marked its first anniversary recently with an event in the hills to underscore its focus on the region's development, they said.