Manipur polls: BJP weighing names for CM post; Biren Singh, Thongam Biswajit front runners

BJP Manipur president A Sharda Devi said the party’s parliamentary board would decide on the next CM candidate in consultation with the state unit.
Manipur BJP leader N Biren Singh (Photo | PTI)
Manipur BJP leader N Biren Singh (Photo | PTI)

GUWAHATI: After the emphatic victory in Manipur, the BJP is taking a pause to stake claim for government formation.

As the suspense surrounding the next chief ministerial candidate continues, the names of N Biren Singh who led the government for five years, senior minister Thongam Biswajit and Konthoujam Govindas are doing the rounds.

Singh met Governor La Ganesan on Friday and tendered his resignation as per procedure but did not stake claim to form the government.

BJP Manipur president A Sharda Devi said the party’s parliamentary board would decide on the next CM candidate in consultation with the state unit.

Sources close to Singh said there could not be any reason why he would not be asked to head the next government.

“He managed to establish peace and ensure all-round development in the state. As there was no disparity, the hills and the valley had their equal shares of development,” a source close to Singh said.

Secondly, the source added, it was under Singh that the BJP bettered its 2017 performance and secured majority this election.

By winning 32 of the 60 seats, the BJP became the second party after the Congress to get the majority in an Assembly election in Manipur. The Congress had bagged 42 seats in 2012.

One blemish for Singh is that his government did not have smooth sailing at one point of time when all four MLAs of the National People’s Party had pulled out support, coupled with the resignation of some MLAs, including that of the BJP, which reduced his government to a minority. The differences were ironed out in quick time with the intervention of Union Home Minister Amit Shah.

Biswajit, considered an old guard in the BJP, was in contention for the CM post in 2017 but the BJP’s central leadership placated him by giving five key portfolios to him. He was with the All India Trinamool Congress and he joined the BJP in 2016.

Speaking at a function when he was launching his election campaign, BJP stalwart and Assam CM Himanta Biswa Sarma had spoken very highly of Biswajit.

“He came from the TMC and contributed immensely to the BJP’s massive growth in Manipur. We all know this and we must acknowledge it,” Sarma had said.

“When he was joining the BJP, I wondered what made him take this huge risk. He said the BJP has come to Assam and we will work hard together to form a BJP government in Manipur. He could visualise the BJP’s rise in Manipur,” Sarma had stated.

Govindas is virtually new in the BJP. He joined the party in August last year when he was serving as the state Congress chief.

He studied at the Rama Krishna Mission Vidyalaya at Narendrapur, West Bengal. He is a seven-time MLA who has never lost an election.

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