NPF joins Manipur cabinet, triggers ministry hope for other BJP allies

The BJP had secured a majority by winning 32 of the state’s 60 seats and the smaller parties were not sure if it will align with them.

Published: 22nd March 2022 07:03 PM  |   Last Updated: 22nd March 2022 07:03 PM   |  A+A-

NPF MLA Awangbow Newmai who took oath as a minister on Monday. (Photo | Twitter)

Express News Service

GUWAHATI: The induction of a Naga People’s Front (NPF) MLA into the ministry in Manipur has rekindled the hopes of the National People’s Party (NPP) and Janata Dal (United) about getting ministerial berths.

The BJP had secured a majority by winning 32 of the state’s 60 seats and the smaller parties were not sure if it will align with them.

At Chief Minister N Biren Singh’s swearing-in ceremony on Monday, five MLAs had also taken oath as ministers. One of them was Awangbow Newmai of the NPF. Five more can be inducted into the ministry at best.

The JD-U, which bagged six seats, and the less than three-month-old Kuki People’s Alliance, which won the two seats it contested, had submitted their letter of support to Governor La Ganesan recently.

In the 2017 elections, the BJP had won 21 seats as against the Congress’ 28, yet it managed to form a coalition government with support from NPP, NPF and others.

ALSO READ | Biren sworn in as Manipur CM, 5 take oath as ministers

The NPP had won four of the nine seats it contested that election and all four MLAs were inducted into the ministry with one being appointed as the deputy chief minister.

The NPP’s relationship with the BJP has turned sour since. However, considering its alliance elsewhere, it is upbeat that its partnership with the BJP will continue in Manipur.

“We are in alliance with the BJP in NEDA (North-East Democratic Alliance), NDA (National Democratic Alliance) and Meghalaya. We hope our alliance will continue in Manipur too,” NPP state general secretary Sheikh Noorul Hassan, who won the polls from the Kshetrigao seat defeating the sitting BJP MLA and belongs to a family of civil servants, told this newspaper.

The NPP won seven seats this election to emerge as the second single largest party after the BJP.

NEDA is a non-Congress conglomerate of political parties of the Northeast. The BJP has two MLAs in Meghalaya and is a constituent of the state’s NPP-led ruling coalition. One of the MLAs is a minister.

NPP sources said there are indications that the BJP would continue its alliance with the Meghalaya Chief Minister Conrad Sangma-headed party. Sangma was supposed to visit Delhi and meet BJP’s central leaders to discuss the issue of NPP’s continuance in the Manipur government.

The leaders of the JD-U could not be reached for comment. Earlier, it had committed its support to the BJP “in the formation of the government”. The BJP refused to disclose anything.


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