| Manipur governor Gurbachan Jagat administers the oath to chief minister Okram Ibobi Singh in Imphal on Wednesday. (PTI) |
Imphal, March 14: Okram Ibobi Singh, 63, began today his third innings as chief minister of Manipur which he termed a “big challenge” with tackling the law and order remaining at the top of his priority list.
Ibobi Singh was sworn in by governor Gurbachan Jagat at a solemn function held at the banquet hall of Raj Bhavan around 3pm. Most of the 42 Congress MLAs and senior officials attended the programme.
He took oath in Manipuri, donning a spotless white dhoti and kurta. Manipur election in-charge and AICC general secretary Luzinho Feleiro was present at the swearing-in ceremony.
Only Ibobi Singh took the oath today. He said the expansion of the ministry would take place very soon.
“I am thinking of starting the budget session from March 19. Therefore, the expansion will take place very soon,” he told reporters.
Earlier today, Ibobi Singh along with 58 other MLAs were sworn in by protem Speaker Lishram Nandakumar Singh in the Assembly.
There is a race among senior members for the post of deputy chief ministership. Ibobi Sigh said the matter would be resolved, hinting that there could be a deputy chief minister.
Manipur PCC president Gaikhangam, who lost the race for Congress Legislature Party leader, is among the contenders for the deputy chief minister’s post.
On the question of induction of any woman member in the council of ministers, Ibobi Singh did not make any commitment. He said he would consult the party high command before taking any decision on the matter.
The Congress has two woman MLAs. Ibobi Singh’s wife Landhoni Devi was re-elected from Khangabok constituency while Akoijam Mirabai Devi was elected for the first time from Patsoi .
Ibobi Singh rightly observed that the challenge before his third term was huge as there was huge discontentment. “Law and order is my top priority. There is also anger about erratic power supply and water supply. Till the second term we could tell people that the financial position was not good; so, we could not take up much development programmes. In the third term, people will start asking seriously what the government is doing. So it is really a challenge for the next government.” People are getting only three to four hours’ power supply daily. Drinking water is also a problem.
The chief minister said he was considering privatisation of the power supply at the district headquarters on the model of New Delhi where private companies are service providers in the power supply sector. Ibobi Singh said his government would seriously work on the setting up of a power development corporation to ensure at least 20 hours of power supply daily.
He said the power situation worsened because the consumers did not have the habit of clearing bills.
The overdue electric bill runs into Rs 300 crore.