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Ibobi nod to reshuffle

Imphal, July 7: The mood in the pro-reshuffle Congress camp in Manipur was upbeat today after meeting chief minister Okram Ibobi Singh on their demand for reshuffle of the two-and-a-half year-old ministry.

This is the second time the MLAs met the chief minister since June 30 and the first after Ibobi Singh returned after meeting Congress president Sonia Gandhi in Delhi a few days back.

Altogether 21 Congress MLAs met Ibobi Singh today for more than one hour to discuss the demand for replacing all the 10 ministers and Speaker, barring Ibobi Singh and his deputy Gaikhangam, who is also the home minister.

“The meeting was fruitful and the chief minister was very positive. He acknowledges the need to have a ministry reshuffle. He, however, did not give any time frame for the proposed reshuffle though he has indicated that he would do so,” a spokesman for the pro-reshuffle camp told The Telegraph after the meeting.

The spokesman said the MLAs also did not press for setting a time-frame for the reshuffle. “It is not nice to ask the chief minister to give a deadline as he is very positive. So we did not seek any deadline,” he said.

Ibobi Singh also told the MLAs that he had apprised the party high command of their sentiments when he met Sonia in Delhi a few days back.

Earlier, the 27 MLAs had threatened to stay away from the Assembly session — which begins on Friday — if Ibobi Singh failed to give an assurance before the session that he would reshuffle the ministry immediately after the session was over.

The MLAs met this evening again to review the meeting with Ibobi Singh and also decide on the further course of action.

Gaikhangam urged the pro-reshuffle MLAs not to put pressure on Ibobi Singh. “This (revolt by MLAs) is an internal matter of the party and not in the interest of people. All the MLAs and party workers should work for the development and unity of the state,” Gaikhangam told reporters during his visit to an Imphal hospital today. CPI state secretary Moirangthem Nara Singh said the squabbling for becoming ministers within the Congress was the fallout of the present “faulty electoral system”. “The MLAs need money for spending during the next Assembly elections. So they are clamouring for ministerial berths,” Nara Singh said.

He said the CPI, with support from intellectuals and citizens’ organisations, would launch a campaign for electoral reforms from July 12 in Manipur.


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