BJP Forms First Government in Manipur as Biren Singh Takes Oath

BJP leader N Biren Singh with Manipur governor Najma Heptullah. Biren Singh was sworn in as the 12th chief minister of the state while former DGP of Manipur and National People's Party (NPP) MLA, Y. Joykumar was sworn in as the deputy chief minister. He also added that other priorities of the new government will include corruption-free government and equal development of both valley and hills for a united Manipur.

■ Any party or coalition requires the support of a minimum 31 MLAs for majority in the 60-member Manipur assembly. I invite the BJP-led group on Wednesday to form the government.

Soon after the results, a massive behind the scenes maneuvering began as it was evident that support from the smaller parties was critical to form a government.

The BJP has the backing of four members of the Naga Peoples Front, four of the National Peoples Party, one each of the Lok Janshakti Party and Trinamool Congress, and an independent. Mr Joykumar, elected from Uripok Assembly seat, is a former director-general of police from the state.

Seven of the eight ministers who were sworn in belong to allies.

His first task will be clearing the blockade on the National Highways which has crippled the State for over four months, following creation of new districts. "Biren is also a friend to many of us in the Congress", a senior Congress leader said. "It is too early to comment on that".

BJP had also claimed that they have the support of the NPF and also submitted a letter from the NPF president pledging their support to the BJP to form the government. Just before the polls K. Joykishan, a prominent BJP leader switched sides and joined the Congress. Provided there is defection, it is doubtful how much ground it will hold for any disqualification to happen as per the anti-defection law.

Singh was elected to the state Legislative Assembly for the first time in 2002 from Heingang constituency as a Democratic Revolutionary People's Party candidate. However, the first sitting of the House has not yet happened in the state so far. He was made the spokesperson and co-convener of the Election Management Committee of state BJP. When contacted, the NPF did not divulge if the negotiations with the BJP in exchange of support have reached the end. "But we are supporting the BJP", said NPP spokesperson Achumbemo Kikon. "But the fact is that they won the election", he said.

"I can not reveal now which ministry I want".

He was once considered a close aide of Okram Ibobi Singh. "I served the BSF from 1979 to 1993", he said. Irom Chanu Sharmila, the woman who gave 16 years of her youth fasting alone in her special prison cell in a hospital to fight for the repeal of the Armed Forces Special Powers Act, AFSPA 1958, got just 90 votes in her contest against the Chief Minister O. Ibobi Singh and was so humiliatingly dismissed from politics, which will be remembered for long.

Parrikar, who stepped down as Defence Minister, was sworn-in as the chief minister of the coastal state for the fourth time on Tuesday evening, along with nine ministers.

Chief ministers of neighbouring states including Arunachal Pradesh, Assam and Sikkim will attend the ceremony. Others inducted were L Jayanta Kumar Singh, Letpao Haokip and N Kayisii (all NPP), Losii Dikho (NPF), Karam Shyam (LJP) and Congress "defector" Shyamkumar Singh.

  • Leroy Wright