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Reshuffle heat on Ibobi

- 26 MLAs petition chief minister, warn of boycott

Imphal, June 19: Manipur chief minister Okram Ibobi Singh is under pressure to reshuffle his nearly two-and-a-half-year-old ministry or face an open revolt.

Twenty-six Congress MLAs have submitted an ultimatum to Ibobi Singh, asking him to give them an assurance before the monsoon session of the Assembly on a ministerial reshuffle immediately after failing which they have threatened to boycott the session, which is likely to be held next month.

“Yes, there is a growing resentment among the Congress MLAs. Twenty-six of them have submitted a representation to the chief minister, urging him to reshuffle the ministry,” a Congress MLA, who did not want to be quoted, told The Telegraph.

The legislators, however, said they do not want to change the chief minister or deputy chief minister Gaikhangam, who also holds charge of home. They said they had no problem with the duo but want the remaining 10 ministers replaced.

The strength of Ibobi Singh’s council of ministers is 12 while there are 47 Congress MLAs in the 60-member House. The Congress initially had 42 elected members in the Assembly. Its strength increased to 47 after all the five MLAs of the regional Manipur State Congress Party merged with it before the Lok Sabha polls.

The legislators argued that there was an understanding between the chief minister and party MLAs before the formation of the ministry that there would be a reshuffle around the middle of the term depending upon the performance of the ministers. Ibobi Singh has been the chief minister for three consecutive terms. His third term began on March 14, 2012.

“We submitted the representation as there was no sign of reshuffling the ministry though the term was nearing two-and-a-half years,” another MLA, who did not want to be quoted, said.

Some of these legislators also have personal grievances against some of the ministers. “The ministers neglect us and do not treat us well when we approach them for development in our constituencies or highlight before them public grievances,” one of them said.

The legislators are prepared to boycott the Assembly and approach the party high command with their demand if the chief minister fails to give them any assurance.

They also want to maintain the “one man one post” principle of the party by electing a new PCC president, a post now held by Gaikhangam.