Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Nongthombam Biren Singh on Wednesday took oath as the chief minister of Manipur at the Raj Bhawan in Imphal. At the ceremony attended by former chief minister Okram Ibobi Singh, Biren Singh and eight ministers took oath.
This is BJP’s first government in Manipur and is being propelled by post-poll allies such as NPP, NPF, LJP and Independents.
Y Joykumar Singh, who took oath as the deputy chief minister, is an NPP MLA from Uripok. He was the former DGP of Manipur and was considered Ibobi Singh’s right-hand man. The other ministers who were sworn-in are Th Biswajit of the BJP, L Jayantakumar of the NPP, Karan Shyam of LJP, L Haokip of NPP, N Koyisi of NPP, Losie Dikho of NPF and Th Shyamkumar who won on Congress ticket from Andro. Shyamkumar recently defected to the BJP.
Governor Najma Heptullah had invited the BJP-led coalition under Biren Singh to form the next government in the state after being assured of requisite support from regional parties and Independents.
After the election results were announced on March 11, both the Congress and the BJP were claiming support in order to form the government. Though the Congress emerged as the single largest party with 28 MLAs, the BJP that secured 21 seats claimed to have the support of MLAs from NPP, NPF, LJP that would help it move past the half-way mark.
On being asked about Congress’ claim to form the government in the state, Heptullah had on Tuesday said, “I don’t know what allegations the Congress is making. In my 37 years in Parliament and 17 in the chair, even when I was a part of the congress, I have had to work with both Congress and non-Congress governments. Nobody has ever alleged that I was biased or unfair. Even the Congress party has never complained. They know that I am a straight-forward person and that I have always gone by the book.”