GUWAHATI: Manipur seems to be headed to a fresh political crisis after Chief Minister N Biren Singh reshuffled his three-year-old BJP-led ministry on Thursday.
He dropped V Hangkhalian, Nemcha Kipgen, Th Radheshyam Singh (all from BJP), L Jayentakumar Singh, N Kayisii (both from National People’s Party), and Karam Shyam (Lok Janshakti Party) and inducted MLAs S Rajen, Voujagin Valte, Oinam Lukhoi, T Satyabrata Singh and Okram Henry into the ministry.
Kipgen was the only woman minister in the state’s 12-member ministry while Henry is former CM and Congress stalwart O Ibobi Singh’s nephew.
In the 2017 elections, Lukhoi and Henry were elected on the Congress tickets but they defected to the BJP in August this year after helping the CM win a controversial trust vote. They will seek people’s mandate in the by-elections to be held in 13 seats.
According to reports reaching here, the NPP was livid that two of its four ministers were dropped. Party chief and Meghalaya Chief Minister Conrad Sangma will fly to Imphal on Saturday, an NPP insider told this newspaper. He said the party might pull out of the coalition government.
As reports were rife on the social media that two NPP MLAs could be dropped, the party had sent out a message that it would withdraw its support to the government if any of them was targeted.
In June, the four NPP ministers had withdrawn their support to the government following differences with the CM. They returned as ministers after the BJP’s central leadership had assured them of addressing their grievances.
Singh, who had been under pressure for the past few months to reshuffle the ministry, had met BJP national president JP Nadda and Union Home Minister Amit Shah in New Delhi recently.
He told journalists on Thursday that there was nothing significant in the reshuffle of ministry and that it was done as desired by his party’s central leaders.
After a series of resignations in the past few months, the strength of the 60-member Manipur House was reduced to 47. The government enjoys the support of 30 MLAs while Congress has 17.