In a major political development in BJP-ruled Manipur, six cabinet ministers were dropped by Chief Minister N. Biren Singh, who also hurriedly inducted five ministers, including two who recently quit the opposition Congress.
Governor Najma Heptulla in a ceremony at the Raj Bhavan administered the oath of office to the five new ministers — Sorokhaibam Rajen, Vungzagin Valte, Oinam Lukhoi Singh, Thokcham Satyabrata Singh and Okram Henry Singh.
Of the five ministers, Okram Henry Singh and Oinam Lukhoi Singh were Congress MLAs and had they recently quit their Assembly membership.
Earlier, three BJP ministers, V Hankhalian, Nemcha Kipgen and Thokchom Radheshyam Singh, two ministers of ally National People’s Party (NPP), Jayanta Kumar Singh and N. Kayisii, and one from the LJP, Karam Shyam, were dropped from the cabinet.
Social Welfare and Cooperation Minister Nemcha Kipgen was the only woman minister in the 12-member cabinet led by Biren Singh.
The Chief Minister had gone to New Delhi with BJP state president S. Tikendra Singh on September 21 and met Union Home Minister Amit Shah and other central leaders.
On the speculation of a cabinet reshuffle, Singh told the media: “We would go by the decision of the central leadership. Everything would be known in due course of time.”
Before and after the BJP-led Manipur government headed by Singh won the trust vote 28-16 in the Assembly on August 10 following hectic parleys, a series of political developments took place in the northeastern state.
The government had plunged into a serious crisis on June 17 after the four-member National People’s Party (NPP), the lone Trinamool Congress (TMC) MLA, and an Independent MLA withdrew their support, while three BJP MLAs quit the party and joined the Congress.
The nine-day-long political drama ended with the intervention of Amit Shah, BJP national President J.P. Nadda, Meghalaya Chief Minister and NPP national President Conrad K. Sangma and Assam Minister and North East Democratic Alliance (NEDA) convenor Himanta Biswa Sarma.
In the 2017 Assembly elections, the Congress had emerged as the single largest party securing 28 seats, but the BJP, which bagged 21 seats, stitched together a coalition government with the support of four NPP MLAs, four Naga People’s Front members, the lone TMC MLA and an Independent member.